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First  Latin  Edition  circa  1486 

First  English  Version  1503 
First  Edition  of  the  present  translation  1556 

Re-edited  into  modern  English  by 
Wilfrid  Raynal,  O.S.B.  1872 




1 .    Of  the  Imitation  or  Following  of  Christ,  and  of  the 

despising  of  all  vanities  of  the  world  8 
1.    Against  vain  secular  cunning,  and  of  a  meek  knowing,  etc.     10 

3 .  Of  the  teaching  of  truth  1 1 

4.  That  light  credence  is  not  to  be  given  to  words  1 4 

5.  Of  the  reading  of  Holy  Scripture  14 

6.  Of  inordinate  affections  15 

7.  That  vain  hope  and  elation  of  mind  are  to  be  fled,  etc.  1 5 

8.  That  much  familiarity  is  to  be  avoided  1 6 

9.  Of  meek  subjection  and  obedience,  etc.  17 

1 0.  That  we  should  avoid  superfluity  of  words,  etc.  1 8 

1 1 .  The  means  to  get  peace,  and  of  desire  to  profit  in  virtues  1 9 

12.  Of  the  profit  of  adversity  20 

13.  Of  temptations  to  be  resisted  21 

14.  That  we  shall  not  judge  lightly  other  men's  deeds,  etc.  24 

1 5.  Of  works  done  in  charity  25 

16.  Of  the  suffering  of  other  men's  defaults  26 

1 7.  What  should  be  the  life  of  a  true  religious  person  27 

18.  Of  the  examples  of  holy  Fathers  27 

1 9.  Of  the  exercises  of  a  good  religious  person  29 

20.  Of  the  love  of  loneliness  and  silence  32 

21.  Of  compunction  of  the  heart  35 

22.  Of  the  considering  of  the  misery  of  mankind,  and 

wherein  the  felicity  of  man  standeth  37 

23.  Of  the  remembrance  of  death  39 

24.  Of  the  Last  Judgment,  and  of  the  pain  that  is  ordained 

for  sin  42 

25.  Of  the  fervent  amending  of  all  our  life,  and  that  we 

shall  specially  take  heed  of  our  own  soul's  health,  etc.  45 


1 .  Of  inward  conversation  52 

2.  Of  the  meek  knowing  of  our  own  defaults  55 

3.  How  good  it  is  for  a  man  to  be  peaceful  56 

4.  Of  a  pure  mind  and  a  simple  intent  58 

5.  Of  the  knowing  of  ourself  59 

6.  Of  the  gladness  of  a  clean  conscience  60 

7.  Of  the  love  of  Jesus  above  all  things  61 

8.  Of  the  familiar  friendship  of  Jesus  61 

9.  Of  the  wanting  of  all  solace  and  comfort  64 

1 0.  Of  yielding  thanks  to  God  for  His  manifold  graces  68 

11.  Of  the  small  number  of  the  lovers  of  the  Cross  70 

12.  Of  the  way  of  the  Cross,  and  how  profitable  patience  is 

in  adversity  71 



1 .  Of  the  inward  speaking  of  Christ  to  a  faithful  soul  78 

2.  How  Almighty  God  speaketh  inwardly  to  man's  soul,  etc.    79 

3.  That  the  words  of  God  are  to  be  heard  with  great 

meekness,  etc.  80 

4.  How  we  ought  to  be  conversant  before  God  in  truth,  etc.      83 

5.  Of  the  marvellous  effect  of  the  love  of  God  84 

6.  Of  the  proof  of  a  true  lover  of  God  87 

7.  How  grace  is  to  be  kept  close  through  the  virtue  of 

meekness  89 

8.  How  through  meekness  we  should  think  ourselves  to 

be  vile  and  abject  in  the  sight  of  God  91 

9.  How  all  things  are  to  be  referred  to  God,  etc.  93 

10.  That  it  is  sweet  and  delectable  to  serve  God,  etc.  94 

1 1 .  That  the  desires  of  the  heart  ought  to  be  well  examined  96 

12.  How  we  should  keep  patience,  and  continually  strive 

against  all  concupiscence  97 

13.  Of  the  obedience  of  a  meek  subject,  etc.  98 

14.  Of  the  secret  and  hidden  judgments  of  God,  etc.  100 

1 5.  How  man  shall  order  himself  in  his  desires  101 

1 6.  That  the  very  true  solace  and  comfort  is  in  God  103 

1 7.  That  all  our  study  and  business  of  mind  ought  to  be 

put  in  God  104 

1 8.  That  all  temporal  miseries  are  gladly  to  be  borne,  etc.  1 05 

19.  Of  patient  suffering  of  injuries  and  wrongs,  etc.  106 

20.  Of  the  acknowledging  of  our  own  infirmities,  etc.  107 

21.  How  a  man  should  rest  in  God  above  all  things  1 09 

22.  Of  remembering  the  great  and  manifold  benefits  of  God  1 1 2 

23 .  Of  four  things  that  bring  peace  into  the  soul  114 

24.  That  it  is  not  good  to  search  curiously  another  man's  life  116 

25.  In  what  thing  the  peace  of  heart  and  greatest  profit  of 

man  standeth  117 

26.  Of  the  excellence  and  worthiness  of  a  free  mind  118 

27.  That  private  love  most  hindereth  a  man  from  God  119 

28.  Against  the  evil  sayings  of  detractors  121 

29.  How  Almighty  God  is  to  be  inwardly  called  unto,  etc.  1 22 

30.  Of  the  help  of  God  to  be  asked,  and  of  a  full  trust  to 

recover  through  devout  prayer  our  former  grace  1 23 

3 1 .  How  we  should  forget  all  creatures,  that  we  may  find 

our  Creator  125 

32.  How  we  should  forsake  ourselves,  and  thrust  all 

covetise  out  of  our  hearts  1 27 

33.  Of  the  unstableness  of  man's  heart,  etc.  128 

34.  How  our  Lord  God  savoureth  to  His  lover  sweetly,  etc.  129 

35.  That  there  is  no  full  surety  from  temptation  in  this  life  131 

36.  Against  the  vain  judgments  of  men  132 

37.  Of  a  pure  and  a  whole  forsaking  of  ourself,  etc.  133 

38.  How  a  man  shall  rule  himself  in  outward  things,  etc.  135 

39.  That  a  man  should  not  be  importune  in  his  business  1 36 

40.  That  a  man  hath  no  goodness  of  himself,  etc.  1 37 

41.  How  all  temporal  honour  is  to  be  despised  138 

42.  That  our  trust  is  not  to  be  put  in  worldly  people  1 39 

43.  That  we  should  eschew  vain  secular  cunning  140 

44.  That  we  should  not  regard  much  outward  things,  etc.  141 

45.  That  men  be  not  always  worthy  of  belief,  etc.  142 

46.  That  we  shall  put  all  our  confidence  in  God  when  evil 

words  be  spoken  to  us  144 

47.  How  all  grievous  things  in  this  life  are  gladly  to  be 

suffered,  for  winning  of  the  life  that  is  to  come  146 

48.  Of  the  day  of  Eternity,  and  of  the  miseries  of  this  life  148 

49.  Of  the  desire  of  everlasting  life,  and  of  the  great 

reward  that  is  promised,  etc.  1 50 

50.  How  a  man  that  is  desolate  ought  to  offer  himself 

wholly  to  God  1 53 

51.  That  it  is  good  that  a  man  give  himself  to  meek 

bodily  labours,  etc.  156 

52.  That  a  man  shall  not  think  himself  worthy  to  have 

comfort,  but  rather  to  have  sorrow  and  pain,  etc.  1 57 

53 .  That  grace  will  not  be  mixed  with  love  of  worldly  things    1 59 

54.  Of  the  divers  movings  between  nature  and  grace  160 

55.  Of  the  corruption  of  nature  and  the  worthiness  of  grace  1 64 

56.  That  we  ought  to  forsake  ourselves,  and  to  follow 

Christ  by  bearing  His  cross  166 

57.  That  a  man  shall  not  be  overmuch  cast  into  heaviness  1 68 

58.  That  a  man  shall  not  search  the  judgments  of  God  169 

59.  That  all  our  hope  and  trust  is  to  be  put  in  God  alone  1 73 


1 .  With  how  great  reverence  Christ  is  to  be  received  177 

2.  That  the  great  goodness  and  charity  of  God  is  given 

to  man  in  this  blessed  Sacrament  181 

3.  That  it  is  very  profitable  oft  to  be  houseled  1 83 

4.  That  many  commodities  be  given  to  them  that  devoutly 

receive  this  holy  Sacrament  1 85 

5.  Of  the  worthiness  of  the  Sacrament  of  the  altar,  etc.          1 87 

6.  Of  the  inward  remembrance  and  exercise  that  a  man 

ought  to  have  afore  receiving  of  the  Body  of  Christ          1 89 

7.  Of  the  discussing  of  our  own  conscience,  and  of  the 

purpose  of  amendment  189 

8.  Of  the  oblation  of  Christ  on  the  cross,  and  of  a  full 

forsaking  of  ourselves  1 9 1 

9.  That  we  ought  to  offer  ourselves  and  all  ours  to  God,  etc.    1 91 

10.  That  the  Holy  Communion  is  not  lightly  to  be  forborne      194 

1 1 .  That  the  Body  of  Christ  and  Holy  Scripture  are  most 

necessary  for  the  health  of  man's  soul  196 

1 2.  That  he  that  shall  be  houseled  ought  to  prepare  himself 

thereto  with  great  diligence  199 

13.  That  a  devout  soul  should  greatly  desire  with  all  his 

heart  to  be  united  to  Christ  in  this  blessed  Sacrament       20 1 

1 4.  Of  the  burning  desire  that  some  devout  persons  have 

had  to  the  Body  of  Christ  203 

15.  That  the  grace  of  devotion  is  gotten  through  meekness  204 

1 6.  That  we  should  open  all  our  necessities  to  Christ,  etc.  205 

1 7.  Of  the  burning  love  and  great  affection  that  we  should 

have  to  receive  Christ  206 

1 8.  That  a  man  should  not  be  a  curious  searcher  of  this 

holy  Sacrament,  but  a  meek  follower  of  Christ,  sub 
duing  always  his  reason  to  faith  208 






Mf^  "^ 

E  THAT  followeth  me,  saith  Christ  our 

Saviour,  shall  not  walk  in  darkness,  but  shall 
have  the  light  of  life.  These  be  the  words  of 
our  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  whereby  we  be  ad 
monished  and  warned,  that  we  shall  follow 
His  teachings  and  His  manner  of  living,  if  we 
will  truly  be  illumined  and  be  delivered  from 
all  blindness  of  heart.  Let  all  the  study  of  our 
heart  be,  therefore,  from  henceforth  to  have 
our  meditation  wholly  fixed  in  the  life  and  in 
the  holy  teachings  of  Jesus  Christ:  for  His 
teachings  are  of  more  virtue  and  of  more  ghost 
ly  strength  than  are  the  teachings 
of  all  Angels  and  Saints. 

And  he  that  through  grace  might  have  the  inner  eye  of  his 
soul  opened  into  soothfast  beholding  of  the  Gospels  of 
Christ,  should  find  in  them  Manna,  that  is  to  say,  spiritual 
food  of  the  soul :  but  it  is  oftentimes  seen  that  some  persons, 
who  often  hear  the  Gospels  of  Christ,  have  little  sweetness 
therein:  and  that  is,  for  that  they  have  not  the  spirit  of 

Wherefore,  if  we  will  have  the  true  understanding  of 
Christ's  Gospels,  we  must  study  to  conform  our  life  to  His 
life  as  nigh  as  we  can. 

What  availeth  it  a  man  to  reason  high  secret  mysteries  of 
the  Trinity,  if  he  lack  meekness,  whereby  he  displeaseth  the 
Trinity?  Truly  nothing.  For  high  curious  reasons  make  not 
a  man  holy  nor  rightwise,  but  a  good  life  maketh  him  beloved 
with  God.  I  had  rather  feel  compunction  of  heart  for  my 
sins,  than  only  to  know  the  definition  of  compunction.  If 
thou  knewest  all  the  Bible  without  the  book,  and  also  the 
sayings  of  all  philosophers  by  heart,  what  should  it  profit 
thee  without  grace  and  charity?  All  that  is  in  this  world  is 
vanity,  but  to  love  God  and  only  to  serve  Him.  This  is  the 
most  noble  and  the  most  excellent  wisdom  that  may  be  in 
any  creature  —  by  despising  of  this  world  to  draw  daily 
nearer  and  nearer  to  the  kingdom  of  heaven. 

It  is  therefore  a  great  vanity  to  labour  inordinately  for 
worldly  riches,  which  shortly  shall  perish,  and  to  covet 
honour,  or  any  other  inordinate  pleasures  or  fleshly  delights 
in  this  life,  whereby  a  man  after  this  life  shall  be  sore  and 
grievously  punished.  How  great  a  vanity  is  it  also  to  desire 
a  long  life,  and  little  to  care  for  a  good  life:  to  heed  things 
present,  and  not  to  provide  for  things  that  are  to  come :  to 
love  things  that  shortly  shall  pass  away,  and  not  to  haste 
thither  where  is  joy  everlasting. 

Also  have  this  common  proverb  oft  in  thy  mind:  That 
the  eye  is  not  satisfied  nor  fully  pleased  with  the  sight  of  any 
bodily  thing,  nor  the  ear  with  hearing:  and  therefore  study 


to  withdraw  the  love  of  thy  soul  from  all  things  that  be 
visible,  and  turn  it  to  things  that  be  invisible.  For  they  that 
follow  their  sensuality  hurt  their  own  conscience,  and  lose 
the  grace  of  God. 


'VERY  man  naturally  desireth  to  know :  but  what  avail  - 
eth  knowledge  without  the  dread  of  God?  A  meek 
husbandman  that  serveth  God  is  much  more  accept 
able  to  Him  than  is  a  curious  philosopher  who  considering 
the  course  of  heaven  wilfully  f orgetteth  himself :  he  that  well 
knoweth  himself  is  vile  and  abject  in  his  own  sight,  and  hath 
no  delight  in  the  vain  praisings  of  man.  If  I  knew  all  things 
that  be  in  this  world  without  charity,  what  would  it  avail 
me  before  God,  that  judgeth  every  man  after  his  deeds? 

Let  us  therefore  cease  from  the  desire  of  such  vain  knowl 
edge  :  for  oftentimes  is  found  therein  great  distraction  and 
deceit  of  the  enemy,  whereby  the  soul  is  much  hindered  and 
let  from  the  perfect  and  true  love  of  God.  They  that  have 
great  cunning  desire  commonly  to  be  seen  and  to  be  holden 
wise  in  the  world.  But  there  be  many  things,  the  knowledge 
of  which  bring  but  little  profit  and  fruit  to  the  soul,  and  he 
is  very  unwise  that  taketh  heed  to  any  other  thing,  than  to 
that  which  shall  profit  him  to  the  health  of  his  soul.  Words 
feed  not  the  soul;  but  a  good  life  refresheth  the  mind,  and  a 
clean  conscience  bringeth  a  man  to  a  firm  and  stable  trust  in 

The  more  cunning  thou  hast,  if  thou  live  not  thereafter, 
the  more  grievously  shalt  thou  be  judged  for  the  misusing 
thereof.  Therefore,  raise  not  thyself  into  pride  for  any  craft 
or  cunning  that  is  given  unto  thee,  but  have  the  more  fear 
and  dread  in  thy  heart;  for  certain  it  is  that  thou  must  here 
after  yield  the  straiter  account.  If  thou  think  that  thou  know- 


est  many  things  and  hast  great  cunning,  yet  know  that  there 
be  many  more  things  that  thou  knowest  not:  and  so  thou 
mayest  not  right  wisely  think  thyself  cunning,  but  oughtest 
rather  to  confess  thine  ignorance.  Why  wilt  thou  prefer 
thyself  before  another,  sith  there  be  many  others  more  excel 
lent  and  more  cunning  than  thou,  and  better  learned  in  the 
law?  If  thou  wilt  anything  learn  and  know  profitably  to  the 
health  of  thy  soul,  learn  to  be  unknown  and  be  glad  to  be 
holden  vile  and  nought. 

The  most  high  and  the  most  profitable  cunning  is  this, 
that  a  man  have  a  soothfast  knowledge  and  a  full  despising 
of  himself.  Also  not  to  presume  of  himself,  but  always  to 
judge  and  think  well  and  blessedly  of  another,  is  a  sign  and 
a  token  of  great  wisdom,  and  of  great  perfection,  and  singu 
lar  grace.  If  thou  see  any  person  sin  or  commit  any  great 
crime  openly  before  thee,  yet  judge  not  thyself  to  be  better 
than  he,  for  thou  knowest  not  how  long  thou  shalt  persevere 
in  goodness.  We  be  all  frail:  but  thou  shalt  judge  no  man 
more  frail  than  thyself. 


HAPPY  and  blessed  is  that  person  whom  truth  teacheth 
and  informeth,  not  by  figures  and  deceitful  voices,  but 
as  the  truth  is :  our  opinion  and  our  wit  many  times 
deceive  us,  for  we  see  not  the  truth.  What  availeth  us  the 
knowledge  of  such  things  as  shall  neither  help  us  at  the  day 
of  judgment  if  we  know  them,  nor  hurt  us  if  we  know  them 
not!  It  is  therefore  great  folly  to  be  negligent  in  such  things 
as  be  profitable  and  necessary  to  us,  and  to  labour  for  such 
things  that  be  but  curious  and  damnable.  Truly,  if  we  do  so, 
we  have  eyes  but  we  see  not. 

And  what  availeth  us  the  knowledge  of  the  kind  and 
working  of  creatures?  Truly  nothing.  He  to  whom  the  Ever 
lasting  Word  (that  is,  Jesus)  speaketh  is  discharged  of  many 


vain  opinions.  Of  that  Word  all  things  proceed,  and  all 
things  openly  shew  and  cry  that  He  is  God.  No  man  without 
Him  understandeth  the  truth,  nor  rightly  judgeth.  But  he  to 
whom  all  things  are  one,  and  he  that  all  things  draweth  into 
one,  and  all  things  setteth  in  one,  and  desireth  nothing  but 
one,  may  quickly  be  established  in  heart,  and  be  fully  paci 
fied  in  God. 

O  Truth,  that  God  art,  make  me  one  with  Thee  in  perfect 
charity;  for  all  that  I  read,  hear,  or  see  without  Thee  is 
grievous  to  me :  for  in  Thee  is  all  that  I  will  or  may  desire. 
Let  all  doctors  be  still  in  Thy  presence,  and  let  all  creatures 
keep  themselves  in  silence,  and  do  Thou  only  Lord  speak 
to  my  soul.  The  more  that  a  man  is  joined  to  Thee  and  the 
more  that  he  is  gathered  together  in  Thee,  the  more  he 
understandeth  without  labour  high  secret  mysteries,  for  he 
hath  received  from  above  the  light  of  understanding. 

A  clean,  pure,  and  a  stable  heart  is  not  broken  nor  lightly 
overcome  with  ghostly  labours,  for  he  doeth  all  things  to 
the  honour  of  God :  and  for  that  he  is  clearly  mortified  to 
himself,  therefore  he  coveteth  to  be  free  from  following  his 
own  will.  What  hindereth  thee  more  than  thy  affections, 
not  fully  mortified  to  the  will  of  the  spirit?  Truly  nothing 

A  good  devout  man  so  ordereth  his  outward  business  that 
it  draweth  him  not  to  the  love  of  it;  but  that  he  compel  it  to 
be  obedient  to  the  will  of  the  spirit,  and  to  the  right  judgment 
of  reason.  Who  hath  a  stronger  battle  than  he  that  laboureth 
to  overcome  himself?  And  this  should  be  our  daily  labour 
and  our  daily  desire  to  overcome  ourself,  that  we  may  be 
made  stronger  in  spirit,  and  increase  daily  from  better  to 
better.  Every  perfection  in  this  life  hath  some  imperfection 
annexed  unto  it;  and  there  is  no  knowledge  in  this  world, 
but  that  is  mixed  with  some  blindness  of  ignorance.  And 
therefore  a  meek  knowing  of  ourself  is  a  surer  way  to  God 
than  is  the  searching  for  highness  of  cunning. 


Cunning  well-ordered  is  not  to  be  blamed,  for  it  is  good 
and  cometh  of  God:  but  a  clean  conscience  and  a  virtuous 
life  is  much  better  and  more  to  be  desired.  Because  some  men 
study  to  have  cunning  rather  than  to  live  well,  therefore  they 
err  many  times  and  bring  forth  little  good  fruit,  or  none. 
O  if  they  would  be  as  busy  to  avoid  sin  and  to  plant  virtues 
in  their  souls  as  they  be  to  move  questions,  there  should  not 
be  so  many  evil  things  seen  in  the  world,  nor  so  much  evil 
example  given  to  the  people,  nor  yet  so  much  dissolute  living 
in  religion!  At  the  day  of  judgment  it  shall  not  be  asked  of 
us  what  we  have  read,  but  what  we  have  done :  nor  how  well 
we  have  said,  but  how  religiously  we  have  lived. 

Tell  me  now,  where  be  all  the  great  Clerks  and  famous 
Doctors,  whom  thou  hast  well  known?  When  they  lived 
they  flourished  greatly  in  their  learning,  and  now  other  men 
occupy  their  prebends  and  promotions,  and  I  cannot  tell 
whether  they  think  any  thing  of  them:  in  their  life  they 
were  holden  great  in  the  world,  and  now  is  little  speaking  of 
them.  O  how  shortly  passeth  away  the  glory  of  this  world 
with  all  the  false  deceivable  pleasures  of  it!  Would  to  God 
their  life  had  accorded  well  with  their  learning,  for  then  had 
they  well  studied  and  read!  How  many  perish  daily  in  this 
world  by  vain  cunning,  that  care  little  for  a  good  life  nor 
for  the  service  of  God.  And  because  they  desire  rather  to 
be  great  in  the  world  than  to  be  meek,  therefore  they  vanish 
away  in  their  learnings  as  smoke  in  the  air. 

Truly  he  is  great  that  hath  great  charity;  and  he  is  great 
that  is  little  in  his  own  sight,  and  that  setteth  at  nought  all 
worldly  honour. 

He  is  very  wise  that  accounteth  all  worldly  pleasures  as 
vile  dung,  so  that  he  may  win  Christ.  And  that  person  is 
very  well  taught  who  forsaketh  his  own  will  and  followeth 
the  will  of  God. 


[  T  i  s  not  good  lightly  to  believe  every  word  or  instinct  that 
cometh,  but  the  thing  is  advisedly  and  leisurely  to  be  con 
sidered  and  pondered,  that  Almighty  God  be  not  offended 
through  our  lightness.  But  alas  for  sorrow!  We  be  so  frail, 
that  we  anon  believe  of  another  evil  sooner  than  good. 
Nevertheless  perfect  men  be  not  so  light  of  credence/  for 
they  know  well  that  the  frailty  of  man  is  more  prone  to  evil 
than  to  good,  and  that  it  is  in  words  very  unstable.  It  is  there 
fore  great  wisdom  not  to  be  hasty  in  our  deeds;  nor  to  trust 
much  in  our  own  wits;  nor  lightly  to  believe  every  tale;  nor 
to  shew  anon  to  others  all  that  we  hear  or  believe.  Take  al 
ways  counsel  of  a  wise  man,  and  covet  rather  to  be  instructed 
and  ordered  by  another,  than  to  follow  thine  own  invention. 
A  good  life  maketh  a  man  wise  to  God,  and  instructeth  him 
in  many  things,  that  a  sinful  man  shall  never  feel  nor  know. 
The  more  meek  that  a  man  is  in  himself,  and  the  more  obedi 
ent  that  he  is  to  God,  the  more  wise  and  the  more  peaceful 
shall  he  be  in  everything  that  he  shall  have  to  do. 


'  H  A  R I T  Y  is  to  be  sought  in  Holy  Scripture  and  not  elo 
quence.  And  it  should  be  read  with  the  same  spirit 
that  it  was  first  made.  We  ought  also  to  seek  in  Holy 
Scripture  ghostly  profit  rather  than  curiosity  of  style,  and 
as  gladly  shall  we  read  simple  and  devout  books  as  books  of 
high  learning  and  cunning.  Let  not  the  authority  of  thine 
author  mislike  thee,  whether  he  were  of  great  cunning  or 
little :  but  let  the  love  of  the  very  pure  truth  stir  thee  to  read. 
Ask  not  who  said  this,  but  take  heed  what  is  said.  Men  pass 
lightly  away,  but  the  truth  of  the  Lord  endureth  for  ever. 

Almighty  God  speaketh  to  us  in  His  Scripture  in  divers 
manners  without  accepting  of  persons :  but  our  curiosity  oft 
hindereth  us  in  reading  of  Scripture,  when  we  will  reason 


and  argue  things  that  we  should  meekly  and  simply  pass 
over.  If  thou  wilt  profit  by  reading  of  Scripture,  read  meekly, 
simply,  and  faithfully,  and  never  desire  to  have  thereby  the 
name  of  cunning.  Ask  gladly  and  hear  meekly  the  sayings 
of  Saints,  and  mislike  not  the  parables  of  ancient  Fathers, 
for  they  were  not  spoken  without  great  cause. 


t    I    i  H  E  N  a  man  desireth  any  thing  inordinately,  forthwith 
I  he  is  unquiet  in  himself.  The  proud  man  and  the  covet- 

%J^J  ous  man  never  have  rest:  but  the  meek  man  and  the 
poor  in  spirit  live  in  great  abundance  of  rest  and  peace.  A 
man  that  is  not  yet  mortified  to  himself,  is  lightly  tempted 
and  overcome  in  little  and  small  temptations.  And  he  that  is 
weak  in  spirit  and  is  yet  somewhat  carnal  and  inclined  to 
sensible  things,  may  hardly  withdraw  himself  from  worldly 
desires.  Therefore  he  hath  oft  great  grief  and  heaviness  of 
heart,  when  he  withdraweth  himself  from  them;  and  he 
disdaineth  anon,  if  any  man  resist  him. 

If  he  obtain  that  he  desireth,  yet  is  he  unquieted  with 
grudge  of  conscience,  for  he  hath  followed  his  passion  which 
nothing  helpeth  to  the  getting  of  that  peace  he  desired.  By 
resisting  of  passions,  then,  is  gotten  the  very  true  peace  of 
heart,  and  not  by  following  them.  There  is,  therefore,  no 
peace  in  the  heart  of  a  carnal  man,  nor  in  the  heart  of  a  man 
that  giveth  himself  all  to  outward  things :  but  in  the  heart  of 
a  ghostly  man,  who  hath  his  delight  in  God,  is  found  great 
peace  and  inward  quietness. 


HE  is  vain  that  putteth  his  trust  in  man,  or  in  any  crea 
ture.  Be  not  ashamed  to  serve  others  for  the  love  of 
Jesus  Christ,  and  to  be  poor  in  this  world  for  His  sake : 
trust  not  thyself,  but  all  thy  trust  set  in  God:  do  what  is  in 

thee  to  please  Him,  and  He  shall  well  help  forth  thy  good 
will.  Trust  not  in  thine  own  cunning/  neither  in  the  cunning 
or  policy  of  any  creature  living,  but  rather  in  the  grace  of 
God,  which  helpeth  meek  persons;  and  those  that  presume 
of  themselves/  He  sufTereth  to  fall  till  they  be  meek. 

Glorify  not  thyself  in  thy  riches/  nor  in  thy  worldly 
friends/  for  that  they  be  mighty;  but  let  all  thy  glory  be  in 
God  only/  that  giveth  all  things/  and  that  desireth  to  give 
Himself  above  all  things.  Exalt  not  thyself  for  the  largeness 
or  fairness  of  body/  for  with  a  little  sickness  it  may  be  soon 
defouled.  Joy  not  in  thyself  for  thy  ability  or  readiness  of 
wit/  lest  thou  displease  God/  of  whose  gift  it  is  all  that  thou 

Hold  not  thyself  better  than  another/  lest  haply  thou  be 
thereby  impaired  in  the  sight  of  God/ Who  knoweth  all  that 
is  in  man.  Be  not  proud  of  thy  good  deeds/  for  the  judgments 
of  God  be  other  than  the  judgments  of  man/  to  Whom  it 
displeaseth  oft  times  that  which  pleaseth  man.  If  thou  have 
any  goodness  or  virtue  in  thee/  believe  yet  that  there  is  much 
more  goodness  and  virtue  in  others/  so  that  thou  mayest 
always  keep  thee  in  meekness.  It  hurteth  not  though  thou 
hold  thyself  worse  than  any  other/  though  it  be  not  so  in 
deed;  but  it  hurteth  much  if  thou  prefer  thyself  above  any 
other/  be  he  never  so  great  a  sinner.  Great  peace  is  with  the 
meek  man/  but  in  the  heart  of  the  proud  man  is  always  envy 
and  indignation. 


OPEN  not  thy  heart  to  every  person/  but  to  him  that  is 
wise,  secret/  and  dreading  God.  Be  seldom  with  young 
folks  and  strangers;  flatter  not  rich  men,  and  afore 
great  men  do  not  lightly  appear.  Accompany  thyself  with 
meek  persons  and  simple  in  heart,  who  be  devout  and  of 
good  governance,  and  treat  with  them  of  things  that  may 



edify  and  strengthen  the  soul.  Be  not  familiar  to  any  woman/ 
but  all  good  women  commend  to  God.  Covet  to  be  familiar 
only  with  God  and  with  His  Angels :  but  the  familiarity  of 
man,  as  much  as  thou  mayest,  look  thou  eschew.  Charity  is 
to  be  had  to  all :  but  familiarity  is  not  expedient.  Sometimes 
it  happeneth  that  a  person  unknown  through  his  good  fame 
is  much  commendable,  whose  presence  afterwards  liketh  us 
not  so  much.  We  ween  sometimes  with  our  presence  to  please 
others,  when  we  rather  displease  them,  through  the  evil 
manners  and  evil  conditions  that  they  see  and  will  consider 
in  us. 


T  is  a  great  thing  to  be  obedient,  to  live  under  a  prelate,  and 
in  nothing  to  seek  our  own  liberty.  It  is  a  much  surer  way 
to  stand  in  the  state  of  obedience,  than  in  the  state  of  prel 
acy.  Many  be  under  obedience  more  of  necessity  than  to 
charity,  and  they  have  great  pain,  and  lightly  murmur  and 
grudge :  and  they  shall  never  have  liberty  and  freedom  of 
spirit,  till  they  wholly  submit  themselves  unto  their  superior. 
Go  here  and  there  where  thou  wilt,  and  thou  shalt  never 
find  perfect  rest;  but  in  meek  obedience  under  the  govern 
ance  of  thy  prelate.  The  imagining  and  changing  of  place 
hath  deceived  many  a  religious  person.  Truth  it  is,  that  every 
man  is  disposed  to  do  after  his  own  will,  and  best  can  agree 
with  them  that  follow  his  ways.  But  if  we  will  that  God  be 
amongst  us,  we  may  sometimes  leave  our  own  will,  (though 
it  seem  good),  that  we  may  have  love  and  peace  with  others. 
Who  is  so  wise  that  he  can  fully  know  all  things?  Truly  no 
one.  Therefore  trust  not  too  much  to  thine  own  wit,  but  hear 
gladly  the  counsel  of  others.  And  if  percase  the  thing  which 
thou  wouldst  have  done  be  good  and  profitable,  and  yet 
nevertheless  thou  leavest  thine  own  will  therein,  and  follow- 

est  another,  thou  shalt  find  much  profit  thereby.  I  have 
oftentimes  heard  say,  that  it  is  the  surer  way  to  hear  and  take 
counsel  than  it  is  to  give  it.  It  is  good  to  hear  every  man's 
counsel;  but  not  to  agree,  when  reason  requireth,  is  a  sign 
of  a  great  singularity  of  mind,  and  of  much  inward  pride. 


FLEE  the  company  of  worldly-living  people  as  much  as 
thou  mayest:  for  the  treating  of  worldly  matters  abat- 
eth  greatly  the  fervour  of  spirit :  though  it  be  done  with 
a  good  intent,  we  be  anon  deceived  with  vanity  of  the  world, 
and  in  manner  are  made  as  thrall  unto  it,  if  we  take  not  good 
heed.  I  would  I  had  held  my  peace  many  times  when  I  have 
spoken,  and  that  I  had  not  been  so  much  amongst  worldly 
company  as  I  have  been.  But  why  are  we  so  glad  to  speak 
and  commune  together,  sith  we  so  seldom  depart  without 
some  hurt  of  conscience?  This  is  the  cause:  By  our  com 
muning  together  we  think  to  comfort  each  other,  and  to 
refresh  our  hearts  when  we  be  troubled  with  vain  imagina 
tions,  and  we  speak  most  gladly  of  such  things  as  we  most 
love,  or  else  of  things  that  be  most  contrarious  unto  us. 

But  alas  for  sorrow!  All  is  vain  that  we  do;  for  this  out 
ward  comfort  is  no  little  hindrance  of  the  true  inward  com 
fort  that  cometh  of  God.  Therefore  it  is  necessary  that  we 
watch  and  pray,  that  the  time  pass  not  away  from  us  in  idle 
ness.  If  it  be  lawful  and  expedient  to  speak,  speak  then  of 
God  and  of  such  things  as  are  to  the  edifying  of  thy  soul  or 
of  thy  neighbour's.  An  evil  use  and  a  negligence  of  our 
ghostly  profit  maketh  us  oftentimes  to  take  little  heed  how 
we  should  speak.  Nevertheless,  sometimes  it  helpeth  right 
much  to  the  health  of  the  soul,  a  devout  communing  of 
spiritual  things,  specially  when  men  of  one  mind  and  spirit 
in  God  do  meet  and  speak  and  commune  together. 



0    i   |E  MIGHT  have  much  peace,  if  we  would  not  meddle 
I  with  other  men's  sayings  and  doings,  that  belong  not 

U^J  unto  us.  How  may  he  long  live  in  peace,  that  wilfully 
will  meddle  with  other  men's  business,  and  that  seeketh 
occasions  abroad  in  the  world,  and  seldom  or  never  gather- 
eth  himself  together  in  God?  Blessed  be  the  true  simple,  and 
meek  persons,  for  they  shall  have  great  plenty  of  peace. 
Why  have  many  Saints  been  so  perfectly  contemplative,  for 
they  always  studied  to  mortify  themselves  from  worldly 
desires,  that  they  might  freely  with  all  the  power  of  their 
heart  tend  to  our  Lord!  But  we  be  occupied  with  our  pas 
sions,  and  be  much  busied  with  transitory  things,  and  it  is 
very  seldom  that  we  may  fully  overcome  any  one  vice.  And 
we  be  nothing  quick  to  our  duties,  wherefore  we  remain  cold 
and  slow  to  devotion.  If  we  were  perfectly  mortified  to  the 
world  and  to  the  flesh,  and  were  inwardly  purified  in  soul, 
we  should  anon  savour  heavenly  things,  and  somewhat 
should  we  have  experience  of  heavenly  contemplation.  The 
greatest  hindrance  of  the  heavenly  contemplation  is,  that  we 
are  not  yet  clearly  delivered  from  all  passions  and  concupis 
cence,  and  we  enforce  not  ourself  to  follow  the  way  that 
holy  Saints  have  gone  before  us :  but  when  any  little  adver 
sity  cometh  to  us,  we  be  anon  cast  down  therein,  and  turn 
us  over-soon  to  seek  man's  comfort.  But  if  we  would  as 
strong  men  and  as  mighty  champions  fight  strongly  in  this 
ghostly  battle,  we  should  undoubtedly  see  the  help  of  God 
come  in  our  need :  for  He  is  always  ready  to  help  all  them 
that  trust  in  Him,  and  He  procureth  occasions  of  such  battle, 
to  the  end  that  we  should  overcome  and  have  the  victory, 
and  in  the  end  to  have  the  greater  reward  therefor. 

If  we  set  the  end  and  perfection  of  our  religion  in  these 
outward  observances,  our  devotion  shall  soon  be  ended. 
Wherefore  we  must  set  our  axe  deep  to  the  root  of  the  tree, 


that  we  (purged  from  all  passions)  may  have  a  quiet  mind. 
If  we  would  every  year  overcome  one  vice,  we  should  anon 
come  to  perfection.  But  I  fear  rather,  that  contrariwise  we 
were  better  and  more  pure  in  the  beginning  of  our  conver 
sion,  than  we  be  many  years  after  we  were  converted.  Our 
fervour  and  desire  to  virtue  should  daily  increase  in  us,  as 
we  increase  in  age.  But  it  is  now  thought  a  great  thing,  if  we 
may  hold  a  little  sparkle  of  the  fervour  that  we  had  first.  If 
we  would  at  the  beginning  break  the  evil  inclination  we  have 
to  ourself  and  to  our  own  will,  we  should  after  do  virtuous 
works  easily,  and  with  great  gladness  of  heart. 

It  is  a  hard  thing  to  leave  evil  customs,  and  it  is  harder  to 
break  our  own  will,  but  it  is  most  hard,  evermore  to  lie  in  pain 
and  endlessly  to  lose  the  joys  of  heaven.  If  thou  overcome 
not  small  things  and  light,  how  shalt  thou  then  overcome  the 
greater?  Resist  therefore  quickly  in  the  beginning  thy  evil 
inclinations,  and  leave  off  wholly  all  thine  evil  customs,  lest 
haply  by  little  and  little  they  bring  thee  after  to  greater 
difficulty.  O  if  thou  wouldst  consider  how  great  inward 
peace  thou  shouldst  have  thyself,  and  how  great  gladness 
thou  shouldst  cause  in  others,  in  behaving  of  thyself  well, 
I  suppose  verily  thou  wouldst  be  much  more  diligent  to 
profit  in  virtue  than  thou  hast  been  before  this  time ! 


IT  is  good  that  we  have  sometime  griefs  and  adversities,  for 
they  drive  a  man  to  behold  himself,  and  to  see  that  he  is 
here  but  as  in  an  exile,  and  be  learned  thereby  to  know 
that  he  ought  not  to  put  his  trust  in  any  worldly  thing.  It  is 
good  also  that  we  surfer  sometime  contradiction,  and  that 
we  be  holden  of  others  as  evil,  and  wretched,  and  sinful, 
though  we  do  well  and  intend  well :  for  such  things  help  us 
to  meekness  and  mightily  defend  us  from  vain-glory  and 
pride.  We  take  God  the  better  to  be  our  judge  and  witness, 


when  we  be  outwardly  despised  in  the  world,  and  the  world 
judgeth  not  well  of  us. 

Therefore,  a  man  ought  to  settle  himself  so  fully  in  God, 
that  what  adversity  soever  befall  unto  him,  he  shall  not  need 
to  seek  any  outward  comfort.  When  a  good  man  is  troubled 
or  tempted,  or  is  inquieted  with  evil  thoughts,  then  he  under- 
standeth  and  knoweth  that  God  is  most  necessary  to  him, 
and  he  may  nothing  do  that  is  good  without  Him.  Then  he 
sorroweth,  waileth,  and  prayeth  for  the  miseries  that  he 
rightfully  sufTereth.  Then  it  irketh  him  also  the  wretched 
ness  of  this  life,  and  he  coveteth  to  be  dissolved  from  this 
body  of  death,  and  to  be  with  Christ.  Then  also  he  seeth 
well,  that  there  may  be  no  full  peace  nor  perfect  quietness 
here  in  this  world. 


ns  LONG  as  we  live  in  this  world  we  may  not  be  fully 
without  temptation.  For,  as  Job  saith,The  life  of  man 
upon  earth  is  a  warfare;  therefore  every  man  should 
beware  well  against  his  temptations,  and  watch  in  prayers 
that  the  ghostly  enemy  find  not  time  and  place  to  deceive 
him,  which  never  sleepeth,  but  always  walketh  about,  seek 
ing  whom  he  may  devour.  There  is  no  man  so  perfect  nor 
so  holy  in  this  world,  that  he  sometime  hath  not  temptations. 
And  we  may  not  fully  be  without  them,  for  though  they  be 
for  the  time  very  grievous  and  painful,  yet  if  they  be  resisted 
they  be  very  profitable;  for  a  man  by  experience  of  such 
temptations  is  made  more  meek,  and  is  also  purged,  and 
informed  in  diverse  manner,  which  he  would  never  have 
known,  but  by  experience  of  such  temptations. 

All  blessed  Saints,  that  now  be  crowned  in  heaven,  grew 
and  profited  by  temptations  and  tribulations,  and  those  that 
could  not  well  bear  temptations,  but  were  finally  overcome, 
be  taken  perpetual  prisoners  in  hell.  There  is  no  order  so 


holy,  no  place  so  secret,  that  is  fully  without  temptation,  and 
there  is  no  man  that  is  fully  free  from  it  here  in  this  life :  for 
in  our  corrupt  body  we  bear  the  matter  whereby  we  be 
tempted,  that  is,  our  inordinate  concupiscence,  wherein  we 
were  born. 

As  one  temptation  goeth  another  cometh,  and  so  we  shall 
always  have  somewhat  to  suffer:  and  the  cause  is,  for  we 
have  lost  our  innocence.  Many  folk  seek  to  flee  temptation, 
and  they  fall  the  more  grievously  into  it :  for  by  only  fleeing 
we  may  not  have  victory,  but  by  meekness  and  patience  we 
be  made  stronger  than  all  our  enemies. 

He  that  only  flieth  the  outward  occasions  and  cutteth 
not  away  the  inordinate  desires  hid  inwardly  in  the  heart 
shall  come  to  him  again,  and  grieve  him  more  than  they  did 
first.  By  little  and  little,  with  patience  and  sufferance,  and 
with  the  help  of  God,  thou  shalt  sooner  overcome  tempta 
tions  than  with  thine  own  strength  and  importunity.  In  thy 
temptation  it  is  good  that  thou  oft  ask  counsel,  and  that  thou 
be  not  rigorous  to  a  person  that  is  tempted;  but  be  glad  to 
comfort  him  as  thou  wouldest  be  comforted. 

The  beginning  of  all  evil  temptations  is  inconstancy  of 
mind,  and  too  little  a  trust  in  God.  For  as  a  ship  without 
guide  is  driven  hither  and  thither  with  every  storm,  so  an 
unstable  man,  that  anon  leaveth  his  good  purpose  in  God,  is 
diversely  tempted.  The  fire  proveth  gold,  and  temptation 
proveth  the  righteous  man.  We  know  not  many  times  what 
we  can  suffer,  but  temptation  sheweth  plainly  what  we  are, 
and  what  virtue  is  in  us.  It  is  necessary,  in  the  beginning  of 
every  temptation,  to  be  well  wary,  for  then  the  enemy  is 
soon  overcome,  if  he  be  not  suffered  to  enter  into  the  heart/ 
but  that  he  be  resisted  and  shut  out  as  soon  as  he  proflereth 
to  enter. 

For  as  bodily  medicine  is  very  late  ministered,  when  the 
sickness  has  been  suffered  to  increase  by  long  continuance; 
so  is  it  with  temptation.  First  cometh  to  the  mind  an  unclean 


thought,  and  after  followeth  a  strong  imagination,  and 
then  delectation  and  diverse  evil  motions,  and  in  the  end 
followeth  a  full  assent,  and  so  by  little  and  little  the 
enemy  hath  full  entry,  for  he  was  not  wisely  resisted  in  the 

Some  persons  have  their  greatest  temptations  in  the  be 
ginning  of  their  conversion,  some  in  the  end,  and  some  in  a 
manner  all  their  life  time  be  troubled  therewith,  and  there 
be  many  that  be  but  lightly  tempted :  all  this  cometh  of  the 
great  wisdom  and  righteousness  of  God,  which  knoweth  the 
state  and  merit  of  every  person,  and  ordaineth  all  things  for 
the  best,  and  to  the  everlasting  health  and  salvation  of  His 
elect  and  chosen  people. 

Therefore  we  shall  not  despair  when  we  be  tempted,  but 
shall  the  more  fervently  pray  unto  God,  that  He  of  His  in 
finite  goodness  and  fatherly  pity  vouchsafe  to  help  us  in 
every  need,  and  that  He,  according  to  the  saying  of  St.  Paul, 
so  prevent  us  with  His  grace  in  every  temptation,  that  we 
may  be  able  to  bear  it.  Let  us  humble  ourselves  therefore 
under  the  mighty  hand  of  God,  for  He  will  save  all  them 
and  exalt  all  them  that  be  here  meek  and  lowly  in  spirit. 

In  temptations  and  tribulations  a  man  is  proved  how 
much  he  hath  profited,  and  his  merit  is  thereby  the  greater 
before  God,  and  his  virtues  are  the  more  openly  shewed.  It 
is  no  great  marvel  if  a  man  be  fervent  and  devout  when  he 
feeleth  no  grief :  but  if  he  can  surfer  patiently  in  time  of  temp 
tation  or  other  adversity,  and  therewithal  can  also  stir  him 
self  to  fervour  of  spirit,  it  is  a  token  that  he  shall  greatly 
profit  hereafter  in  virtue  and  grace.  Some  persons  be  kept 
from  many  great  temptations,  and  yet  daily  they  be  over 
come  through  little  and  small  occasions,  and  that  is  of  the 
great  goodness  and  sufferance  of  God  to  keep  them  in  meek 
ness,  that  they  shall  not  trust  nor  presume  of  themselves, 
that  see  themselves  so  lightly,  and  in  so  little  things  daily 



HAVE  always  a  good  eye  to  thyself,  and  beware  thou 
judge  not  lightly  other  men.  In  judging  other  men  a 
man  oft  laboureth  in  vain,  oft  erreth,  and  lightly 
ofTendeth  God :  but  in  judging  himself  and  his  own  deeds,  he 
always  laboureth  fruitfully  and  to  his  ghostly  profit.  We 
judge  oftentimes  after  our  own  heart  and  affections,  and  not 
after  the  truth :  for  we  oft  lose  the  true  judgment  through 
our  private  love. 

But  if  God  were  always  the  whole  intent  of  our  desire, 
we  should  not  so  lightly  err  in  our  judgments,  nor  so  lightly 
be  troubled,  for  that  we  be  resisted  of  our  will. 

But  commonly  there  be  in  us  some  inward  inclination,  or 
some  outward  affection,  that  draweth  our  heart  with  them 
from  the  true  judgment.  Many  persons  through  a  secret  love 
that  they  have  to  their  self,  work  indiscreetly  after  their  own 
will,  and  not  after  the  will  of  God,  and  yet  they  ween  not 
so :  they  seem  to  stand  in  great  inward  peace  when  things 
follow  after  their  mind,  but  if  it  follow  otherwise  than  they 
would,  anon  they  be  moved  with  impatience,  and  be  right 
heavy  and  pensive.  By  diversities  of  opinions  be  sprung 
many  times  dissensions  between  friends  and  neighbours,  and 
also  between  religious  and  devout  persons. 

An  old  custom  is  hardly  broken,  and  no  man  will  lightly 
be  removed  from  his  own  will :  but  if  thou  cleave  more  to 
thine  own  will,  or  to  thine  own  reason,  than  to  the  meek 
obedience  of  Jesus  Christ,  it  will  be  long  or  thou  be  a  man 
illumined  with  grace.  For  Almighty  God  wills  that  we  be 
perfectly  subject  and  obedient  to  Him,  and  that  we  ascend 
and  rise  high  above  our  own  will,  and  above  our  own  reason, 
by  a  great  burning  love  and  a  whole  desire  to  Him. 


FOR  nothing  in  the  world,  nor  for  the  love  of  any  crea 
ture,  is  evil  to  be  done,  but  sometimes  for  the  need  and 
comfort  of  our  neighbour  a  good  deed  may  be  deferred, 
or  be  turned  into  another  good  deed,  for  thereby  it  is  not 
destroyed,  but  is  changed  into  better.  Without  charity  the 
outward  deed  is  little  to  be  praised :  but  whatsoever  is  done 
of  charity,  be  it  never  so  little,  or  never  so  despicable  in  sight 
of  the  world,  it  is  right  profitable  before  God,  Who  judgeth 
all  things  after  the  intent  of  the  doer,  and  not  after  the  great 
ness  or  worthiness  of  the  deed. 

He  doth  much  that  much  loveth  God,  and  he  doth  much 
that  doeth  his  deed  well,  and  he  doeth  his  deed  well,  that 
doth  it  rather  for  the  commonalty  than  for  his  own  will. 
A  deed  sometimes  seemeth  to  be  done  of  charity  and  love  of 
God,  when  it  is  rather  done  of  carnality,  and  of  a  fleshly 
love,  than  of  a  charitable  love:  for  commonly  some  carnal 
inclination  to  our  friends,  or  some  inordinate  love  to  our- 
self,  or  some  hope  of  a  temporal  reward,  or  the  desire  of 
some  other  profit,  moveth  us  to  do  the  deed,  and  not  the 
pure  love  of  charity. 

Charity  seeketh  not  himself  in  that  he  doth,  but  he  de- 
sireth  to  do  only  that  which  shall  be  honour  and  praising  to 
God.  He  envieth  no  man,  for  he  loveth  no  private  love, 
neither  will  he  joy  in  himself,  but  he  coveteth  above  all  things 
to  be  blessed  in  God.  He  knoweth  well  that  no  goodness 
beginneth  originally  of  man,  and  therefore  he  referreth  all 
goodness  to  God,  of  whom  all  things  proceed,  and  in  whom 
all  blessed  Saints  do  rest  in  everlasting  fruition. 

Oh,  he  that  had  but  a  little  sparkle  of  this  perfect  charity, 
should  feel  soothfastly  in  his  soul  that  all  earthly  things  be 
full  of  vanity! 


SUCH  defaults  as  we  cannot  amend  in  ourselves  nor  in 
others,  we  must  patiently  suffer,  till  our  Lord  of  His 
goodness  will  otherwise  dispose.  And  we  shall  think 
that  haply  it  so  is  best  to  be  for  proving  of  our  patience, 
without  which  our  merits  are  but  little  to  be  pondered. 
Nevertheless  thou  shalt  pray  heartily  for  such  impediments, 
that  our  Lord  of  His  great  mercy  and  goodness  vouchsafe 
to  help  thee,  that  thou  mayest  patiently  bear  them. 

If  thou  admonish  any  person  once  or  twice,  and  he  will 
not  take  it,  strive  not  over  much  with  him,  but  commit  all  to 
God,  that  His  will  be  done,  and  His  honour  in  all  His  ser 
vants,  for  He  can  well  by  His  goodness  turn  evil  into  good. 
Study  always  that  thou  mayest  be  patient  in  suffering  of 
other  men's  defaults,  for  thou  hast  many  things  in  thee  that 
others  do  suffer  of  thee:  and  if  thou  canst  not  make  thyself 
to  be  as  thou  wouldst,  how  mayest  thou  then  look  to  have 
another  to  be  ordered  in  all  things  after  thy  will?  We  would 
gladly  have  others  perfect,  but  will  not  amend  our  own 

We  would  that  others  should  be  straitly  corrected  for 
their  offences,  but  we  will  not  be  corrected.  It  misliketh  us 
that  others  have  liberty,  but  we  will  not  be  denied  of  that 
we  ask.  We  would  also  that  others  should  be  restrained 
according  to  the  statutes,  but  we  in  nowise  will  be  restrained. 
Thus  it  appeareth  evidently  that  we  seldom  ponder  our 
neighbour,  as  we  do  ourselves.  If  all  men  were  perfect,  what 
had  we  then  to  suffer  of  our  neighbours  for  God? 

Therefore  God  hath  so  ordained  that  each  one  of  us  shall 
learn  to  bear  another's  burden:  for  in  this  world  no  man  is 
without  default,  no  man  without  burden,  no  man  sufficient 
to  himself,  nor  no  man  wise  enough  of  himself.  Wherefore 
it  behoveth  each  one  of  us  to  bear  the  burden  of  others,  to 
comfort  others,  to  help  others,  to  inform  others,  and  to  in 
struct  and  admonish  others  in  all  charity.  Who  is  of  most 



virtue  appeareth  best  in  time  of  adversity.  Occasions  make 
not  a  man  frail,  but  they  shew  openly  what  he  is. 


T  behoveth  thee  to  break  thine  own  will  in  many  things,  if 
thou  wilt  have  peace  and  concord  with  others.  It  is  no  little 
thing  to  be  in  monasteries  or  in  congregations,  and  to 
continue  there  without  complaining  or  missaying,  and  faith 
fully  to  persevere  there  unto  the  end :  blessed  are  they  that 
there  live  well  and  make  a  good  end.  If  thou  wilt  stand  surely 
in  grace,  and  much  profit  in  virtue,  hold  thyself  as  an  outlaw 
and  as  a  pilgrim  here  in  this  life,  and  be  glad  for  the  love  of 
God  to  be  holden  as  a  fool,  and  as  a  vile  person,  as  thou  art. 

The  habit  and  the  tonsure  help  little,  but  the  changing  of 
life  and  the  mortifying  of  the  passions  make  a  person  a  per 
fect  and  true  religious.  He  that  seeketh  any  other  thing  in 
religion  than  purely  God  and  the  health  of  his  soul,  shall 
find  nothing  there  but  trouble  and  sorrow,  and  he  may  not 
long  stand  there  in  peace  and  quietness  that  laboureth  not 
to  be  least  and  subject  to  all. 

It  is  good,  therefore,  that  thou  remember  oft,  that  thou 
comest  to  religion  to  serve  and  not  to  be  served,  and  that 
thou  art  called  thither  to  suffer  and  to  labour,  and  not  to  be 
idle  or  tell  vain  tales.  In  religion  a  man  shall  be  proved  as 
gold  in  a  furnace,  and  no  man  may  stand  long  there  in  grace 
and  virtue,  but  he  will  with  all  his  heart  meek  himself  for 
the  love  of  God. 


BE  H  0 L  D  the  lively  examples  of  holy  Fathers  and  blessed 
Saints,  in  whom  flourished  and  shined  all  true  perfec 
tion  of  life  and  perfect  religion,  and  thou  shalt  see  how 
little  it  is,  and  well  nigh  as  nothing,  that  we  do  now  in  these 


days,  in  comparison  of  them.  O  what  is  our  life,  if  it  be  to 
them  compared !  They  served  our  Lord  in  hunger  and  thirst/ 
in  heat  and  in  cold,  in  nakedness,  in  labour  and  weariness, 
in  vigils  and  fastings,  in  prayers  and  in  holy  meditations,  in 
persecutions  and  in  many  reproofs. 

O  how  many  and  how  grievous  tribulations  suffered  the 
Apostles,  Martyrs,  Confessors,  Virgins,  and  other  holy 
Saints,  that  would  follow  the  steps  of  Christ!  They  refused 
honours  and  all  bodily  pleasures  here  in  this  life,  that  they 
might  always  have  the  everlasting  life.  O  how  strait  and 
abject  a  life  led  the  holy  Fathers  in  wilderness !  How  grievous 
temptations  suffered  they!  How  fiercely  were  they  with 
their  ghostly  enemies  assailed,  and  how  fervent  prayer  of 
fered  they  daily  to  God!  What  rigorous  abstinence  used 
they,  how  great  zeal  and  fervour  had  they  to  spiritual  profit ! 
How  strong  battle  held  they  against  all  sin,  and  how  pure 
and  whole  intent  had  they  to  God  in  all  their  deeds ! 

In  the  day  they  laboured,  and  in  the  night  they  prayed. 
And  though  they  laboured  in  the  day  bodily,  yet  they  prayed 
in  mind,  and  so  they  spent  their  time  always  fruitfully,  and 
thought  every  hour  short  for  the  service  of  God:  and  for 
the  great  sweetness  that  they  had  in  heavenly  contemplation 
they  forgot  ofttimes  their  bodily  refection.  All  riches,  hon 
our,  dignities,  kinsmen,  and  friends  they  renounced  for  the 
love  of  God.  They  coveted  to  have  nothing  in  the  world,  and 
scarcely  they  would  take  what  was  necessary  for  the  bodily 
kind.  They  were  poor  in  worldly  goods,  but  they  were  rich 
in  grace  and  virtue.  They  were  needy  outwardly,  but  in 
wardly  in  their  souls  they  were  replenished  with  grace  and 
ghostly  comforts. 

To  the  world  they  were  aliens  and  strangers,  but  to  God 
they  were  right  dear  and  familiar  friends.  In  the  sight  of  the 
world  and  in  their  own  sight  they  were  vile  and  abject,  but 
in  the  sight  of  God  and  His  Saints  they  were  precious  and 
singularly  elect.  In  them  shined  all  perfection  of  virtue,  true 


meekness,  simple  obedience,  charity,  and  patience,  with 
other  like  virtues  and  gracious  gifts  of  God.  Wherefore 
they  profited  daily  in  spirit,  and  obtained  great  grace  of 
God.  They  be  left  as  an  example  to  all  religious  persons : 
and  more  ought  their  examples  to  stir  us  to  devotion,  and  to 
profit  more  and  more  in  virtue  and  grace,  than  the  example 
of  the  great  multitude  of  dissolute  and  idle  persons  should 
anything  draw  us  aback. 

O  what  fervour  was  in  religious  persons  at  the  beginning 
of  their  religion!  What  devotion  in  prayers!  What  zeal  to 
virtue !  What  love  to  ghostly  discipline !  And  what  reverence 
and  meek  obedience  flourished  in  them  under  the  rule  of 
their  superior!  Truly  their  deeds  yet  bear  witness  that  they 
were  holy  and  perfect,  and  so  mightily  subdued  the  world 
and  thrust  it  underfoot.  Nowadays  he  is  accounted  virtuous 
that  is  no  offender,  and  that  may  with  patience  keep  some 
little  sparkle  of  that  virtue  and  fervour  that  he  had  first. 

But  alas  for  sorrow!  It  is  through  our  own  sloth  and  negli 
gence,  and  through  losing  of  time,  that  we  be  so  soon  fallen 
from  our  first  fervour  into  such  a  ghostly  weakness  and  dul- 
ness  of  spirit,  that  in  manner  it  is  too  tedious  to  us  for  to 
live.  But  would  to  God  that  the  desire  to  profit  in  virtue 
slept  not  so  utterly  in  thee,  that  so  oft  hast  seen  the  holy 
examples  of  blessed  Saints! 


>  •!•  'H  E  jjf  £  Of  a  gOQCj  rej  jgious  man  should  snine  in  all  vir- 
V  tue,  and  be  inward  as  it  appeareth  outward.  And  that 
|  much  more  inward,  for  Almighty  God  beholdeth  the 
heart,  Whom  we  should  always  honour  and  reverence  as  if 
we  were  ever  in  His  bodily  presence,  and  appear  before  Him 
as  Angels  clean  and  pure,  shining  in  all  virtue.  We  ought 
every  day  to  renew  our  purpose  in  God,  and  to  stir  our  heart 
to  fervour  and  devotion,  as  though  it  were  the  first  day  of 


our  conversion,  and  daily  we  shall  pray  and  say  thus :  Help 
me,  my  Lord  Jesu,  that  I  may  persevere  in  good  purpose, 
and  in  Thy  holy  service  unto  my  death,  and  that  I  may  now 
this  present  day  perfectly  begin,  for  it  is  nothing  that  I  have 
done  in  time  past. 

After  our  purpose,  and  after  our  intent  shall  be  our  re 
ward.  And  though  our  intent  be  never  so  good,  yet  it  is 
necessary  that  we  put  thereto  a  good  will  and  a  great  dili 
gence.  For  if  he  that  oftentimes  purposeth  to  do  well  and  to 
profit  in  virtue,  yet  faileth  in  his  doing,  what  shall  he  do 
then,  who  seldom  or  never  taketh  such  purpose?  Let  us 
intend  to  do  the  best  we  can,  and  yet  our  good  purpose  may 
happen  to  be  hindered  and  letted  in  divers  manners.  And 
our  special  hindrance  is  this,  that  we  so  lightly  leave  off  our 
good  exercises  that  we  have  used  to  do  before  time :  for  it 
is  seldom  seen  that  a  good  purpose  wilfully  broken  may  be 
recovered  again  without  great  spiritual  hindrance.  The  pur 
pose  of  righteous  men  dependeth  in  the  grace  of  God  more 
than  in  themselves,  or  in  their  own  wisdom:  for  man  pur 
poseth,  but  God  disposeth :  nay,  the  way  that  man  shall  walk 
in  this  world  is  not  in  himself  but  in  the  grace  of  God. 

If  a  good  custom  be  sometimes  left  off  for  help  of  our 
neighbour,  it  may  soon  be  recovered:  but  if  it  be  left  off 
through  sloth,  or  through  our  own  negligence,  it  will  greatly 
hinder  us,  and  hardly  will  it  be  recovered  again.  Thus  it 
appeareth  that  though  we  encourage  ourselves  all  that  we 
can  to  do  well,  yet  it  is  good  that  we  always  take  such  good 
purpose,  especially  against  such  things  as  hinder  us  most. 
We  must  also  make  diligent  search  both  within  us  and  with 
out  us,  that  we  leave  nothing  inordinate  unreformed  in  us, 
as  nigh  as  our  frailty  may  suffer. 

And  if  thou  cannot  for  frailty  of  thyself  do  thus  con 
tinually,  yet  at  the  least,  that  thou  do  it  once  in  the  day, 
evening  or  morning.  In  the  morning  thou  shalt  take  a  good 
purpose  for  that  day  following,  and  at  night  thou  shalt  dis- 


cuss  diligently  how  them  hast  behaved  thee  the  day  before, 
in  word,  in  deed,  and  in  thought :  for  in  them  we  do  often 
ofTend  God  and  our  neighbour.  Arm  thee  as  Christ's  true 
knight  with  meekness  and  charity,  against  all  the  malice  of 
the  enemy.  Refrain  gluttony,  and  thou  shalt  more  lightly 
refrain  all  carnal  desires.  Let  not  the  ghostly  enemy  find  thee 
all  idle,  but  that  thou  be  reading,  writing,  praying  devoutly, 
thinking,  or  some  other  good  labour  doing  for  the  com 
monalty.  Bodily  exercises  are  to  be  done  discreetly:  for  that 
which  is  profitable  to  one  is  sometimes  hurtful  to  another: 
and  also  spiritual  labours  done  of  devotion  are  more  sure 
done  in  private  than  in  open  place. 

And  thou  must  beware  that  thou  be  not  more  ready  to 
private  devotions  than  to  them  that  thou  art  bound  to  by 
duty  of  thy  religion.  But  when  thy  duty  is  fulfilled,  then 
add  thereto,  after  as  thy  devotion  giveth.  All  may  not  use 
one  manner  of  exercise,  but  one  in  one  manner,  another  in 
another  manner,  as  they  shall  feel  to  be  most  profitable  to 
them.  Also,  as  the  time  requireth,  so  divers  exercises  are  to 
be  used,  for  one  manner  of  exercise  is  necessary  on  the  holy 
day,  another  on  the  ferial  day :  one  in  the  time  of  temptation, 
another  in  the  time  of  peace  and  consolation:  one  when  we 
have  sweetness  in  devotion,  another  when  devotion  with- 

Also  against  principal  feasts  we  ought  to  be  more  diligent 
in  good  works  and  devoutly  to  call  for  help  to  the  blessed 
Saints,  that  then  be  worshipped  in  the  Church  of  God,  than 
at  other  times,  and  to  dispose  ourselves  in  like  manner,  as 
if  we  should  then  be  taken  out  of  the  world,  and  be  brought 
into  the  everlasting  feast  in  heaven. 

And  sith  that  bliss  is  yet  deferred  from  us  for  a  time,  we 
may  well  think  that  we  be  not  yet  ready,  nor  worthy  to  come 
thereto.  And  therefore  we  ought  to  prepare  ourselves  to  be 
more  ready  another  time.  For,  as  St.  Luke  saith:  Blessed  is 
that  servant,  whom  his  Lord  when  he  cometh  —  at  the  hour 


of  death  —  shall  find  ready:  for  He  shall  take  him,  and  lift 
him  up  high  above  all  earthly  things,  into  the  everlasting  joy 
and  bliss  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  Amen. 


SEEK  for  a  convenient  time  to  search  thine  own  con 
science,  and  think  oft  on  the  benefits  of  God.  Leave  off 
all  curious  things,  and  read  such  matters  as  shall  stir 
thee  to  compunction  of  heart  for  thy  sins,  rather  than  read 
only  for  occupying  of  the  time.  If  thou  wilt  withdraw  thy 
self  from  superfluous  words,  and  from  unprofitable  runnings 
about,  and  from  the  hearing  of  rumours  and  vain  tales,  thou 
shalt  find  time  convenient  to  be  occupied  in  holy  medita 
tions.  The  most  holy  men  and  women  that  ever  were  fled  the 
company  of  worldly-living  men  with  all  their  power,  and 
chose  to  serve  God  in  secret  of  their  heart. 

One  holy  man  said :  As  oft  as  I  have  been  among  worldly 
company,  I  have  departed  with  less  fervour  of  spirit  than  I 
came.  And  this  we  know  well  when  we  talk  long :  for  it  is  not 
so  hard  to  keep  always  silence,  as  it  is  not  to  exceed  in  words 
when  we  speak  much.  It  is  also  more  light  to  be  always  soli 
tary  at  home,  than  to  go  forth  into  the  world  and  not  offend. 
Therefore  he  that  intendeth  to  come  to  inward  setting  of 
his  heart  to  God  and  to  have  the  grace  of  devotion,  must 
with  our  Saviour  Christ  withdraw  him  from  the  people.  No 
man  may  surely  appear  among  the  people,  but  he  that 
would  gladly  be  solitary,  if  he  might:  nor  no  man  is  sure  in 
prelacy,  but  he  that  would  gladly  be  a  subject :  no,  none  may 
surely  command,  but  he  that  hath  learned  gladly  to  obey : 
and  none  joyeth  truly,  but  he  whose  heart  witnesseth  that 
he  hath  a  clean  conscience :  yea,  none  speaketh  surely,  but 
he  that  would  gladly  keep  silence  if  he  might. 

The  surety  of  good  men  and  blessed  men  hath  always 
been  in  meekness  and  dread  of  God.  And  though  such 


blessed  men  shined  in  all  virtue,  yet  they  were  not  therefore 
lifted  up  into  pride,  but  were  therefore  the  more  diligent  in 
the  service  of  God,  and  the  more  meek  in  all  their  doings. 
On  the  contrarywise,  the  surety  of  evil  men  riseth  of  pride 
and  of  presumption,  and  in  the  end  it  deceiveth  them.  There 
fore  think  thyself  never  sure  in  this  life,  whether  thou  be 
religious  or  secular :  for  ofttimes,  they  that  have  been  holden 
in  the  sight  of  the  people  most  perfect,  have  been  suffered 
to  fall  more  grievously  for  their  presumption. 

Also,  it  is  much  more  profitable  to  many  persons  that 
they  have  sometimes  temptations  (lest  haply  they  think 
themselves  overmuch  safe,  and  be  thereby  lift  up  into  pride, 
or  run  to  seeking  outward  consolation,)  than  that  they  be 
always  without  temptations.  O  how  pure  a  conscience  should 
he  have  that  would  despise  all  transitory  joy,  and  never 
would  meddle  with  worldly  business!  And  what  peace  and 
inward  quietness  should  he  have,  that  would  cut  away  from 
him  all  business  of  mind,  and  only  think  on  heavenly  things ! 

No  man  is  worthy  to  have  ghostly  comforts,  unless  he 
have  first  been  well  exercised  in  holy  compunction.  And  if 
thou  wilt  have  compunction,  go  into  a  secret  place,  and  put 
from  thee  all  the  clamorous  noise  of  the  world:  for  the 
Prophet  David  saith :  Stand  in  awe,  and  sin  not :  commune 
with  your  own  heart  upon  your  bed,  and  be  still.  In  thy  cell 
thou  shalt  find  great  grace,  which  thou  mayest  lightly  lose 
without.  Thy  cell  well  continued  shall  wear  sweet  and  pleas 
ant  to  thee,  and  shall  be  to  thee  hereafter  a  right  dear  friend; 
and  if  it  be  but  ill  kept,  it  shall  grow  very  tedious  and  irksome 
to  thee.  But  if  in  the  beginning  thou  be  oft  therein,  and  keep 
it  well  in  good  prayers  and  holy  meditations,  it  shall  be  after 
to  thee  a  special  friend,  and  one  of  thy  most  special  comforts. 

In  silence  and  quietness  of  heart  a  devout  soul  profiteth 
much  and  learneth  the  hidden  sentences  of  Scripture,  and 
findeth  therein  also  many  sweet  tears  in  devotion,  where 
with  every  night  she  washeth  her  mightily  from  all  filth  of 


sin,  that  she  may  be  so  much  the  more  familiar  with  God,  as 
she  is  dissevered  from  the  clamorous  noise  of  worldly  busi 
ness.  Therefore  they  that  for  the  love  of  virtue  withdraw 
them  from  their  acquaintance  and  friends,  our  Lord  with 
His  Angels  shall  draw  nigh  to  them,  and  shall  abide  with 
them.  It  is  better  that  a  man  be  solitary,  and  well  take  heed 
of  himself,  than  that  he  do  miracles  in  the  world,  forgetting 
himself.  It  is  also  a  laudable  thing  in  a  religious  person  sel 
dom  to  go  forth,  seldom  to  see  others,  and  seldom  to  be  seen 
of  others. 

Why  wilt  thou  see  that  which  it  is  not  lawful  for  thee  to 
have?  The  world  passeth  away,  with  all  his  concupiscence 
and  deceitful  pleasures.  Thy  sensual  appetite  moveth  thee 
to  go  abroad,  but  when  the  time  is  past,  what  bearest  thou 
home  again  but  remorse  of  conscience  and  unquietness  of 
heart?  It  is  often  seen  that  after  a  merry  going  forth  fol- 
loweth  a  heavy  returning;  and  that  a  glad  eventide  causeth 
a  heavy  morning:  and  so  all  fleshly  joy  entereth  pleasantly, 
but  in  the  end  it  biteth  and  slayeth.  What  mayest  thou  see 
without  thy  cell  that  thou  mayest  not  see  within?  Lo,  heaven 
and  earth,  and  all  the  elements,  whereof  all  earthly  things 
be  made !  What  mayest  thou  elsewhere  see  under  the  sun 
that  may  long  endure? 

And  if  thou  might  see  all  earthly  things,  and  also  have  all 
bodily  pleasure  present  at  once  before  thee,  what  were  it 
but  a  vain  sight?  Lift  up  thine  eyes,  therefore,  to  God  in 
heaven,  and  pray  heartily  that  thou  mayest  have  forgive 
ness  of  thine  offences.  Leave  vain  things  to  them  that  will 
be  vain,  and  take  thou  heed  only  to  those  things  that  our 
Lord  commandeth  thee.  Shut  fast  the  door  of  thy  soul,  that 
is  to  say,  thy  imagination,  and  keep  it  warily  from  beholding 
of  any  bodily  thing,  as  much  as  thou  mayest:  and  then  lift 
up  thy  mind  to  the  Lord  Jesu,  and  open  thy  heart  faith 
fully  to  Him,  and  abide  with  Him  in  thy  cell,  for  thou  shalt 
not  find  so  much  peace  without.  If  thou  hadst  not  gone  forth 



so  much  as  thou  hast  done/  nor  hadst  given  hearing  to  vain 
tales,  thou  shouldst  have  been  in  much  more  inward  peace 
than  thou  art :  but  for  as  much  as  it  delighteth  thee  to  hear 
new  things,  it  behoveth  thee  therefore  to  suffer  sometimes 
both  trouble  of  heart  and  unquietness  of  mind. 


F  THOU  wilt  anything  profit  to  the  health  of  thy  soul  keep 
thee  always  in  the  dread  of  God,  and  never  desire  to  be 
full)/  at  liberty,  but  keep  thee  always  under  some  whole 
some  discipline.  Never  give  thyself  to  indiscreet  mirth,  for 
any  manner  of  thing,  as  nigh  as  thou  mayest.  Have  perfect 
compunction  and  sorrow  for  thy  sins,  and  thou  shalt  find 
thereby  great  inward  devotion.  Compunction  openeth  to 
the  sight  of  the  soul  many  good  things,  which  lightness  of 
heart  and  vain  mirth  soon  driveth  away.  It  is  marvel  that 
any  man  can  be  merry  in  this  life,  if  he  consider  well  how 
far  he  is  exiled  out  of  his  country,  and  how  great  peril  his 
soul  daily  standeth  in:  but  through  lightness  of  heart  and 
negligence  of  our  defaults  we  feel  not  the  sorrow  of  our  own 
soul :  but  oftentimes  we  laugh  when  we  ought  rather  to  weep 
and  mourn,  for  there  is  no  perfect  liberty,  nor  true  joy,  but 
in  the  dread  of  God  and  in  a  good  conscience. 

That  person  is  right  happy,  that  hath  grace  to  avoid  all 
things  that  let  him  from  beholding  of  his  own  sins,  and  that 
can  turn  himself  to  God  by  inward  compunction :  and  he  is 
happy  also  that  avoideth  all  things  that  may  offend,  or 
grieve  his  conscience.  Fight  strongly  therefore  against  all 
sins,  and  dread  not  overmuch,  although  thou  be  encumbered 
by  an  evil  custom,  for  that  evil  custom  may  be  overcome 
with  a  good  custom.  And  excuse  thee  not  that  thou  art  hin 
dered  by  other  men;  for  if  thou  wilt  leave  thy  familiarity 
with  others,  they  will  surfer  thee  to  do  thy  deeds  without 


Meddle  thee  not  with  other  men's  goods,  neither  busy 
thee  in  great  men's  causes:  have  always  an  eye  to  thyself/ 
and  diligently  inform  and  admonish  thyself  before  all  others. 
If  thou  have  not  the  favour  of  worldly-living  people,  sorrow 
not  therefor:  but  let  this  be  thy  daily  sorrow,  that  thou 
behavest  not  thyself  in  thy  conversation,  as  it  beseemeth  a 
good  religious  person  to  do.  It  is  more  expedient  and  more 
profitable  that  a  man  sometimes  lack  consolations  in  this 
life,  than  that  he  have  them  always  after  his  own  will, 
namely,  fleshly  consolations.  Nevertheless,  that  we  have  not 
sometimes  heavenly  consolations,  or  that  we  so  seldom  feel 
them  as  we  do,  is  through  our  own  default :  for  we  seek  not 
to  have  true  compunction  of  heart,  nor  do  we  cast  fully  away 
from  us  false  outward  consolations. 

Hold  thyself  therefore  unworthy  to  have  any  consola 
tion,  and  worthy  to  have  much  tribulation.  When  a  man 
sorroweth  perfectly  for  his  sins,  then  all  worldly  comforts 
be  painful  to  him.  A  good  man  fmdeth  always  matter  enough 
why  he  ought  justly  to  sorrow  and  to  weep :  for  if  he  behold 
himself,  or  if  he  think  on  his  neighbour,  he  seeth  well  that  no 
one  liveth  here  without  great  misery,  and  the  more  thor 
oughly  he  considereth  himself,  the  more  sorrow  he  hath. 
And  always  the  matter  of  true  sorrow,  and  of  true  inward 
compunction,  is  the  remembrance  of  our  sins,  wherein  we 
be  so  wrapt  on  every  side  that  we  seldom  behold  any  ghostly 

But  if  we  would  oftener  think  on  our  death  than  we  do  on 
a  long  life,  no  doubt  but  we  should  more  fervently  apply 
ourselves  to  amendment :  and  I  believe  also,  that  if  we  would 
heartily  remember  the  pains  of  hell  and  of  purgatory,  we 
should  more  gladly  sustain  all  labours  and  sorrows,  and  we 
should  not  dread  any  pain  in  this  world,  whereby  we  might 
avoid  the  pains  that  are  to  come. 

But,  forasmuch  as  these  things  go  not  to  the  heart,  and 
we  yet  love  the  flattering  and  false  pleasures  of  this  world, 

therefore  we  remain  cold  and  void  of  devotion,  and  oft  it 
is  through  the  weakness  of  the  spirit  that  the  wretched  body 
so  lightly  complaineth.  Pray,  therefore,  meekly  to  our  Lord, 
that  He  of  His  great  goodness  will  give  thee  the  spirit  of 
compunction,  and  say  with  the  Prophet:  How  long,  Lord? 
wilt  thou  be  angry  for  ever?  shall  thy  jealousy  burn  like  fire? 


n  WRETCH  thou  art,  whosoever  thou  be,  whithersoever 
thou  turn  thee,  but  if  thou  turn  to  God.  Why  art  thou 
so  lightly  troubled  for  that  it  falleth  not  to  thee  as 
thou  wouldst  and  desirest?Who  is  he  that  hath  all  things 
after  his  will?  Neither  thou,  nor  I,  nor  any  living  man:  for 
none  liveth  here  without  some  trouble  or  anguish,  be  he 
King  or  Pope. 

Who,  thinkest  thou,  is  in  most  favour  with  God?  Truly, 
he  that  sufTereth  gladly  most  for  God.  But  many  persons, 
weak  and  feeble  in  spirit,  say  thus  in  their  hearts :  Lo,  how 
good  a  life  that  man  leadeth,  how  rich  he  is,  how  mighty  he 
is,  how7  high  in  authority,  how  great  in  sight  of  the  people, 
how  fair  and  beautiful  in  his  bodily  kind:  but  if  thou  take 
heed  to  the  goodness  everlasting,  thou  shalt  well  see  that 
these  worldly  goods  and  worldly  likings  are  but  little  worth, 
and  that  they  be  rather  more  grievous  than  pleasant,  for 
they  may  not  be  had  nor  kept  but  by  great  labour  and 
business  of  mind.  The  felicity  of  man  standeth  not  in  abun 
dance  of  worldly  goods,  for  the  mean  is  best.  And,  verily,  to 
live  in  this  world  is  but  misery :  and  the  more  ghostly  that  a 
man  would  be,  the  more  painful  it  is  to  him  to  live,  for  he 
feeleth  more  plainly  the  defaults  of  man's  corruption.  For 
to  eat,  to  drink,  to  sleep,  to  wake,  to  rest,  to  labour,  and  to 
serve  all  other  necessities  of  the  body  is  great  misery  and 
great  affliction  to  a  devout  soul,  which  would  gladly  be  free 


from  the  bondage  of  sin,  that  it  might  without  hindrance 
serve  our  Lord  in  purity  of  conscience  and  in  cleanness  of 

The  inward  man  is  greatly  grieved  through  the  bodily 
necessities  in  this  world.  Wherefore  the  Prophet  David 
desired  that  he  might  be  delivered  from  such  necessities.  But 
woe  be  to  them  that  know  not  their  own  misery/  and  greater 
woe  be  to  them  that  love  this  wretched  and  corruptible  life : 
for  some  love  it  so  much,  that  if  they  might  ever  live  here, 
though  they  might  get  their  living  with  labour  and  begging, 
yet  they  would  never  care  for  the  kingdom  of  heaven. 

O  mad  and  unfaithful  creatures  are  they  that  so  deeply 
set  their  love  in  earthly  things/  that  they  have  no  feeling/ 
nor  taste/  but  in  fleshly  pleasures!  Truly  in  the  hour  of 
death  they  shall  know  how  vile,  and  how  naughty  it  was/ 
that  they  so  much  loved.  But  holy  Saints  and  devout  fol 
lowers  of  Christ/  did  not  what  pleased  the  flesh/  nor  what 
was  pleasant  in  the  sight  of  the  world,  but  they  held  their 
whole  intent  and  desire  to  things  invisible,  and  feared  lest 
by  sight  of  things  visible  they  might  be  drawn  down  to  the 
love  of  them. 

My  well-beloved  brother,  lose  not  the  desire  to  profit  in 
spiritual  things,  for  thou  hast  yet  good  time  and  space.  Why 
wilt  thou  any  longer  defer  the  time?  Arise,  and  now  this 
same  instant  begin,  and  say  thus :  Now  is  the  time  to  labour 
in  good  works,  now  is  the  time  to  fight  in  ghostly  battle,  and 
now  is  the  time  for  making  amends  for  trespass  that  is  passed. 
When  thou  art  troubled,  then  is  the  best  time  to  merit  and 
get  rewards  of  God.  It  behoveth  thee  to  go  through  fire  and 
water  before  thou  come  to  the  place  of  recreation,  and  if 
thou  can  but  fully  have  the  mastery  over  thyself  thou  shalt 
never  overcome  sin,  nor  live  without  great  tediousness  and 
sorrow.  We  would  gladly  be  delivered  from  all  misery  and 
sin :  but  because  through  sin  we  have  lost  our  innocency,  we 
have  lost  also  the  very  joy  and  felicity.  Wherefore  we  must 

hold  us  in  patience,  and  with  good  hope  abide  the  mercy  of 
God,  till  wretchedness  and  misery  be  overpassed,  and  this 
bodily  life  be  changed  into  the  life  everlasting. 

O  how  great  is  the  frailty  of  man,  that  he  is  ever  ready 
and  prone  to  sin !  This  day  thou  art  confessed,  and  to-mor 
row  thou  fallest  again.  Now  thou  purposest  to  beware,  and 
intendest  to  go  forth  strongly  in  good  works,  and  shortly 
after  thou  dost,  as  if  thou  never  hadst  taken  such  purpose. 
Rightfully  therefore  we  ought  to  meek  ourselves,  and  never 
to  think  in  us  any  virtue  or  goodness,  for  that  we  be  so  frail 
and  unstable.  Soon  may  that  be  lost  through  negligence, 
which  with  much  labour  and  special  grace  was  hardly 

But  what  shall  become  of  us  in  the  end,  when  we  so  soon 
wax  dull  and  slow?  Soothly  sorrow  and  woe  shall  be  to  us, 
if  we  fall  to  bodily  rest  now,  as  though  we  were  in  ghostly 
security,  when  yet  there  appeareth  not  either  sign  or  token 
of  virtue,  or  of  good  living,  in  our  conversation.  Wherefore 
it  were  expedient  to  us,  that  we  were  yet  again  instructed  as 
novices  to  learn  good  manners,  if  haply  there  might  by  that 
means  be  found  hereafter  any  trust  of  amendment  and 
spiritual  profit  in  our  conversation. 


{^f*H  E  nour  °f  death  will  shortly  come,  and  therefore  take 
^          heed  how  thou  orderest  thyself ;  for  the  common  prov- 
I      erb  is  true :  To-day  a  man,  to-morrow  none.  And  when 
thou  art  taken  out  of  sight,  thou  art  anon  out  of  mind,  and 
soon  shalt  thou  be  forgotten.  O  the  great  dulness  and  hard 
ness  of  man's  heart,  that  only  thinketh  on  things  present, 
and  little  provideth  for  the  life  to  come!  If  thou  didst  well, 
thou  shouldst  so  behave  thyself  in  every  deed  and  in  every 
thought,  as  though  thou  shouldst  in  this  instant  die.  If  thou 
hadst  a  good  conscience,  thou  wouldst  not  much  fear  death. 


It  were  better  for  thee  to  leave  sin  than  fear  death.  O  my 
dear  brother,  if  thou  be  not  ready  this  day,  how  shalt  thou 
be  ready  to-morrow?  To-morrow  is  a  day  uncertain,  and 
thou  canst  not  tell  whether  thou  shalt  live  so  long. 

What  profit  is  it  to  us  to  live  long,  when  we  thereby  so 
little  amend  our  life?  Long  life  does  not  always  bring  us  to 
amendment,  but  ofttimes  increaseth  sin.  Would  to  God 
that  we  might  be  one  day  well  conversant  in  this  world! 
Many  reckon  their  years  of  conversion,  and  yet  there  is  but 
little  fruit  of  amendment,  or  of  any  good  example,  seen  in 
their  conversation.  If  it  be  fearful  to  die,  peradventure  it  is 
more  perilous  to  live  long.  Blessed  be  those  persons  that  ever 
have  the  hour  of  death  before  their  eyes,  and  that  every  day 
dispose  themselves  to  die.  If  thou  ever  sawest  a  man  die, 
remember  that  thou  must  needs  go  the  same  way. 

In  the  morning  doubt  whether  thou  shalt  live  till  night, 
and  at  night  think  not  thyself  sure  to  live  till  to-morrow.  Be 
always  ready,  and  live  in  such  manner  that  death  find  thee 
not  unprovided.  Remember  how  many  have  died  suddenly 
and  unprovided,  for  our  Lord  hath  called  them  in  such  an 
hour  as  they  least  thought.  And  when  that  last  hour  shall 
come,  thou  shalt  begin  to  feel  all  otherwise  of  thy  life  past, 
than  thou  hast  done  before.  And  thou  shalt  then  sorrow 
greatly  that  thou  hast  been  so  slow  and  negligent  in  the 
service  of  God  as  thou  hast  been. 

O  how  happy  and  wise  therefore  is  he  that  laboureth  now 
to  stand  in  such  state  in  this  life,  as  he  would  be  found  in  at 
his  death !  Truly  a  perfect  despising  of  the  world  and  a  fer 
vent  desire  to  profit  in  virtue,  a  love  to  be  taught,  a  fruitful 
labour  in  works  of  penance,  a  ready  will  to  obey,  a  forsak 
ing  of  ourself ,  and  a  willing  suffering  of  all  adversities  for  the 
love  of  God,  shall  give  us  a  great  trust  that  we  shall  die  well. 
Now,  whilst  thou  art  in  health,  thou  mayest  do  many  good 
deeds,  but  if  thou  be  sick,  I  cannot  tell  what  thou  mayest  do. 
For  why?  Few  be  amended  through  sickness.  And  likewise, 


they  that  go  much  on  pilgrimage,  be  seldom  thereby  made 
perfect  and  holy. 

Put  not  thy  trust  in  thy  friends  and  thy  neighbours, 
neither  defer  thy  good  deeds  till  after  thy  death;  for  thou 
shalt  sooner  be  forgotten  than  thou  weenest.  Better  it  is  to 
provide  for  thyself  betime,  and  to  send  some  good  deeds 
before  thee,  than  to  trust  to  others  who  peradventure  will 
lightly  forget  thee.  If  thou  be  not  now  busy  for  thyself,  and 
for  thine  own  soul's  health,  who  shall  be  busy  for  thee  after 
thy  death?  Now  is  the  time  very  precious,  but  alas  for  sor 
row,  that  thou  spendest  the  time  so  unprontably,  in  the 
which  thou  shouldst  win  the  life  everlasting!  The  time 
shall  come,  when  thou  shalt  desire  one  day  or  one  hour  to 
amend  thee,  but  I  wot  not  whether  it  shall  be  granted  unto 
thee.  O  my  dear  brother,  from  how  great  peril  and  dread 
mightest  thou  now  deliver  thyself,  if  thou  wouldst  always 
in  this  life  dread  to  offend  God,  and  always  have  the  coming 
of  death  suspect!  Therefore  study  now  to  live  so,  that  at  the 
hour  of  death  thou  mayest  rather  joy  than  dread.  Learn  now 
to  die  to  the  world,  that  thou  mayest  then  live  with  Christ. 
Learn  also  to  despise  all  worldly  things  that  thou  mayest 
then  freely  go  to  Christ.  Chastise  now  thy  body  with  pen 
ance,  that  thou  mayest  then  have  a  sure  and  steadfast  hope 
of  salvation. 

Thou  art  a  fool,  if  thou  think  to  live  long,  sith  thou  art 
not  sure  to  live  one  day  to  the  end.  How  many  have  been 
deceived  through  trust  of  long  life,  and  suddenly  have  been 
taken  out  of  this  world  or  they  had  thought.  How  oft  hast 
thou  heard  say  that  such  a  man  was  slain,  and  such  a  man 
was  drowned,  and  such  a  man  fell  and  broke  his  neck?  This 
man  as  he  ate  his  meat  was  strangled,  and  this  man  as  he 
played  took  his  death;  one  with  fire,  another  with  iron, 
another  with  sickness,  and  some  by  theft  have  suddenly 
perished!  And  so  the  end  of  all  men  is  death,  for  the  life  of 
man  as  a  shadow  suddenly  fleeth  and  passeth  away. 


Think  oft,  who  shall  remember  thee  after  thy  death,  and 
who  shall  pray  for  thee?  Do  now  for  thyself  all  thou  canst, 
for  thou  wettest  not  when  thou  shalt  die,  nor  what  shall 
follow  after  thy  death.  Whilst  thou  hast  time  gather  thee 
riches  immortal,  think  of  nothing  abidingly  but  on  thy 
ghostly  health.  Set  thy  study  only  on  things  that  be  of  God, 
and  that  belong  to  His  honour.  Make  thee  friends  against 
that  time,  worship  the  Saints  and  follow  their  steps,  that 
when  thou  shalt  go  out  of  this  world  they  may  receive  thee 
into  the  everlasting  tabernacles. 

Keep  thee  as  a  pilgrim  and  as  a  stranger  here  in  this  world 
to  whom  nothing  belongeth  of  worldly  business.  Keep  thy 
heart  always  free  and  lifted  up  to  God,  for  thou  hast  here  no 
city  long  abiding.  Send  thy  desires  and  thy  daily  prayers 
always  upward  to  God,  and  pray  perseverantly,  that  thy 
soul  at  the  hour  of  death  may  blessedly  depart  out  of  this 
world  and  go  to  Christ. 


|N  ALL  things  behold  the  end,  and  oft  remember  how  thou 
shalt  stand  before  the  high  Judge,  to  Whom  nothing  is 
hidden;  who  will  not  be  pleased  with  rewards,  nor  receive 
any  manner  of  excuses,  but  in  all  things  will  judge  what  is 
righteous  and  true.  O  most  unwise  and  wretched  sinner, 
what  shalt  thou  then  answer  to  God,  Who  knoweth  all  thy 
sins  and  wretchedness,  since  thou  sometimes  dreadest  here 
the  face  of  a  mortal  man? 

Why  dost  thou  not  now  provide  for  thyself  against  that 
day,  since  thou  mayest  not  then  be  excused  nor  defended  by 
another;  but  every  man  shall  then  have  enough  to  do  to 
answer  for  himself?  Now  thy  labour  is  fruitful,  and  thy 
weeping  is  acceptable;  thy  mourning  is  worthy  to  be  heard, 
and  thy  sorrow  also  is  satisfactory  and  purgeth  of  sins. 


The  patient  man,  who  suffereth  injuries  and  wrongs  of 
others,  and  yet  nevertheless  sorroweth  more  for  their  malice 
than  for  the  wrong  done  to  himself,  hath  a  wholesome  and 
blessed  purgatory  in  this  world:  so  have  they  that  gladly 
can  pray  for  their  enemies,  and  for  them  that  be  contrarious 
unto  them;  or  that  in  their  heart  can  forgive  those  that  offend 
them,  and  tarry  not  long  to  ask  forgiveness.  And  so  also, 
they  that  be  more  lightly  stirred  to  mercy  than  to  vengeance, 
and  that  can  as  it  were  by  violence  break  down  their  own 
will,  strongly  resist  sin,  and  labour  always  to  subdue  their 
body  to  the  spirit.  It  is  better  now  to  purge  sin  and  to  put 
away  vice,  than  to  reserve  it  to  be  purged  hereafter.  But 
verily  we  deceive  ourselves  by  the  inordinate  love  that  we 
have  to  our  bodily  kind. 

What  shall  the  fire  of  purgatory  devour  but  thy  sins? 
Truly  nothing.  Therefore  the  more  thou  sparest  thyself  now 
and  the  more  thou  followest  thy  fleshly  liking,  the  more 
grievously  shalt  thou  wail  hereafter,  and  the  more  matter 
thou  reservest  for  the  fire  of  purgatory.  In  such  things  as  a 
man  most  has  offended,  shall  he  most  be  punished.  The 
slothful  person  shall  be  there  pricked  with  burning  pricks 
of  iron,  and  gluttons  shall  be  tormented  with  great  hunger 
and  thirst.  Luxurious  persons  and  lovers  of  voluptuous 
pleasures,  shall  be  filled  full  with  burning  pitch  and  brim 
stone:  and  envious  persons  shall  wail  and  howl,  as  mad 
dogs  do. 

There  no  sin  shall  be  without  its  proper  torment.  The 
proud  man  shall  be  filled  with  all  shame  and  confusion,  and 
the  covetous  man  shall  pine  with  penury  and  need.  One  hour 
there  in  pain  shall  be  more  grievous  than  here  a  hundred 
years  in  sharpest  penance.  There  shall  be  no  rest  nor  com 
fort  to  the  damned  souls :  but  here  sometimes  we  feel  relief 
of  our  pains,  and  have  sometimes  consolation  of  our  friends. 
Be  now  sorrowful  for  thy  sins,  that  at  the  day  of  judgment 
thou  mayest  be  saved  with  blessed  Saints.  Then  shall  the 


just  stand  with  great  constancy  against  those  that  have  af 
flicted  them/  and  taken  away  their  labours.  Then  shall  He 
stand  as  a  Judge  that  here  submitted  Himself  meekly  to  the 
judgment  of  men.  Then  shall  the  meek  poor  man  have  great 
confidence  and  trust  in  God,  and  the  obstinate  proud  man 
shall  quake  and  dread. 

Then  shall  it  appear  that  he  was  wise  in  this  world,  that 
for  the  love  of  God  was  content  to  be  taken  as  a  fool,  and 
to  be  despised/  and  set  at  nought.  Then  shall  it  also  please 
him  much  the  tribulation  that  he  sufTereth  patiently  in  this 
world,  for  all  iniquity  shall  stop  its  mouth.  Then  every 
devout  person  shall  be  joyful  and  glad,  and  the  irreligious 
shall  wail  and  dread.  Then  shall  the  flesh,  that  hath  been 
with  discretion  chastised/  joy  more  than  if  it  had  been  nour 
ished  with  all  delectation  and  pleasure.  Then  shall  the  vile 
habit  shine  clear  in  the  sight  of  God,  and  the  precious  gar 
ments  shall  wax  foul  and  loathsome  to  behold.  Then  the 
poor  cottage  shall  be  more  hallowed  than  the  palace  over 
gilded  with  gold. 

Then  shall  a  constant  patience  more  help  than  all  worldly 
power  and  riches.  Then  shall  meek  obedience  be  exalted 
higher  than  all  worldly  wisdom  and  policy,  and  then  shall  a 
good  clean  conscience  make  us  more  gladsome  and  merry 
than  the  cunning  of  all  philosophy. 

Then  the  despising  of  worldly  goods  shall  be  more  of 
value  than  all  worldly  riches  and  treasures.  Then  shalt  thou 
have  more  comfort  for  thy  devout  praying  than  for  all  thy 
delicate  feeding.  Then  shalt  thou  also  joy  more  for  thy 
silence  keeping,  than  for  thy  long  talking  and  jangling. 
Then  good  deeds  shall  plenteously  be  rewarded,  and  fair 
words  shall  little  be  regarded.  Then  shall  it  please  more  a 
strait  life  and  hard  penance  here,  than  all  worldly  delectation 
and  pleasure.  Learn  now  therefore  to  suffer  small  tribula 
tions  in  this  world,  that  thou  mayest  then  be  delivered  from 
the  greater  ones  there  ordained  for  sin.  First  prove  here  what 


thou  mayest  suffer  hereafter.  And  if  thou  canst  not  now  suf 
fer  so  little  a  pain,  how  shalt  thou  then  suffer  the  everlasting 
torments?  And  if  now  so  little  a  passion  make  thee  impatient, 
what  shall  then  do  the  intolerable  fire  of  purgatory  or  of 

Thou  mayest  not  have  two  heavens;  that  is  to  say/  to  joy 
here  and  to  have  delectation  here,  and  after  to  joy  also  with 
Christ  in  heaven.  Moreover,  if  thou  hadst  lived  always 
unto  this  day  in  honours  and  fleshly  delectations,  what 
should  it  profit  thee  now,  if  thou  shouldst  this  present  instant 
depart  the  world?  Therefore  all  things  are  vanity,  but  to  love 
God  and  to  serve  Him.  He  that  loveth  God  with  all  his 
heart,  dreadeth  neither  death,  nor  torment,  nor  judgment 
nor  hell;  for  perfect  love  maketh  a  sure  passage  to  God :  but 
if  a  man  yet  delight  in  sin,  it  is  no  marvel  though  he  dread 
both  death  and  hell.  And  though  such  a  dread  be  but  a 
thrall-dread,  yet  nevertheless  it  is  good,  that  if  the  love  of 
God  withdraw  us  not  from  sin,  that  the  dread  of  hell  con 
strain  us  thereto.  He  that  setteth  apart  the  dread  of  God, 
may  not  long  stand  in  the  state  of  grace,  but  soon  shall  he 
run  into  the  snare  of  the  devil,  and  lightly  shall  he  therewith 
be  deceived. 


MY  SON,  be  waking  and  diligent  in  the  service  of  God, 
and  think  oft  wherefore  thou  art  come,  and  why  thou 
hast  forsaken  the  world.  Was  it  not  that  thou  shouldst 
live  to  God,  and  be  made  a  spiritual  man?  Yes,  truly.  There 
fore  stir  thyself  to  perfection,  for  in  a  short  time  thou  shalt 
receive  the  full  reward  of  all  thy  labours,  and  from  thence 
forth  shall  never  come  to  thee  either  sorrow  or  dread.  Thy 
labour  shall  be  little  and  short,  and  thou  shalt  receive  there- 


for  everlasting  rest  and  comfort.  If  thou  abide  faithful  and 
fervent  in  good  deeds,  without  doubt  our  Lord  will  be  faith 
ful  and  liberal  to  thee  in  His  rewards.  Thou  shalt  always 
have  a  good  trust  that  thou  shalt  come  to  the  palm  of  victory, 
but  thou  shalt  not  set  thee  in  a  full  surety  thereof,  lest  haply 
thou  wax  dull  and  proud  in  heart. 

A  certain  person,  who  oftentimes  doubted  whether  he 
were  in  a  state  of  grace  or  not,  on  a  time  fell  prostrate  in  the 
church,  and  said  thus :  O  that  I  might  know  whether  I  should 
persevere  in  virtue  to  the  end  of  my  life !  And  anon  he  heard 
inwardly  in  his  soul  the  answer  of  our  Lord,  saying :  What 
wouldst  thou  do  if  thou  knewest  thou  shouldst  persevere? 
Do  now  as  thou  wouldst  do  then,  and  thou  shalt  be  safe. 
And  anon  he  was  comforted,  and  committed  himself  wholly 
to  the  will  of  God,  and  all  his  doubtfulness  ceased,  and  never 
after  would  he  curiously  search  to  know  what  should  become 
of  him,  but  rather  he  studied  to  know  what  was  the  will  of 
God  against  him,  and  how  he  might  begin  and  end  all  his 
deeds  to  the  pleasure  of  God  and  His  honour. 

Trust  in  the  Lord,  and  do  good,  saith  the  Prophet  David; 
so  shalt  thou  dwell  in  the  land,  and  verily  thou  shalt  be  fed. 
But  one  thing  withdraweth  many  from  profiting  in  virtue, 
and  from  amendment  of  life,  that  is,  a  horror  and  a  false 
worldly  dread  that  they  may  not  abide  the  pain  and  labour 
that  is  needful  for  the  getting  thereof.  Therefore  they  shall 
most  profit  in  virtue  before  all  others,  that  enforce  them 
selves  mightily  to  overcome  those  things  that  be  most  griev 
ous  and  contrarious  to  them.  For  a  man  profiteth  most,  and 
there  winneth  most  grace,  where  he  most  overcometh  him 
self  and  mortifieth  his  body  to  the  soul. 

But  all  men  have  not  in  like  ways  to  mortify  and  overcome, 
for  some  have  more  passions  than  others.  Nevertheless,  a 
fervent  lover  of  God,  though  he  have  greater  passions  than 
others,  yet  shall  he  be  stronger  to  profit  in  virtue  than  an 
other  that  is  better-mannered,  and  that  hath  fewer  passions, 

but  is  less  fervent  to  virtue.  Two  things  help  a  man  much  to 
amendment  of  life;  that  is,  a  mighty  withdrawing  of  himself 
from  those  things  that  the  body  most  inclineth  him  to,  and 
a  fervent  labour  for  such  virtues  as  he  hath  most  need  of. 

Study  also  to  overcome  in  thyself  those  things  that  most 
mislike  thee  in  other  men,  and  take  always  some  special  profit 
in  every  place  wheresoever  thou  come;  as,  if  thou  see  any 
good  example,  enforce  thee  to  follow  it;  and  if  thou  see  any 
evil  example,  look  thou  eschew  it.  As  thy  eye  considereth 
the  works  of  others,  right  so  and  in  the  same  wise  be  thy 
works  considered  by  others.  O  how  joyous  and  how  delec 
table  is  it  to  see  religious  men  devout  and  fervent  in  the  love 
of  God,  well-mannered,  and  well  taught  in  ghostly  learning : 
and,  on  the  contrary  part,  how  heavy  and  sorrowful  it  is  to 
see  them  live  inordinately,  not  using  those  things  that  they 
have  chosen  and  betaken  themselves  to !  Also,  how  incon 
venient  a  thing  is  it,  for  a  man  to  be  negligent  in  the  purpose 
of  his  first  calling,  and  to  set  his  mind  to  things  that  be  not 
committed  to  him ! 

Think  oft  therefore  on  the  purpose  that  thou  hast  taken, 
and  set  before  the  eye  of  thy  soul  the  memory  of  Christ's 
passion;  and  if  thou  behold  well  and  diligently  His  blessed 
life,  thou  mayest  well  be  ashamed  that  thou  hast  not  con 
formed  thyself  to  Him  more  than  thou  hast  done.  He  that 
will  inwardly  and  devoutly  exercise  himself  in  the  most 
blessed  life  and  passion  of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ  shall  find 
therein  plenteously  all  that  is  necessary  for  him,  so  that  he 
shall  not  need  to  seek  anything  v/ithout  Him.  O  if  Jesu 
crucified  were  oft  in  our  hearts  and  in  our  remembrance,  we 
should  soon  be  learned  in  all  things  necessary  for  us! 

A  good  religious  man  that  is  fervent  in  his  religion  taketh 
all  things  well,  and  doth  gladly  all  that  he  is  commanded  to 
do :  but  a  religious  person  that  is  negligent  and  slothful  hath 
trouble  upon  trouble,  and  suffereth  great  anguish  and  pain 
on  every  side,  for  he  lacketh  the  true  inward  comfort;  and 


to  seek  the  outward  comfort  he  is  prohibited.  Therefore  a 
religious  person  that  liveth  without  discipline  is  like  to  fall 
in  great  ruin.  Also  he  that  in  religion  seeketh  to  have  liberty 
and  releasing  of  his  duty  shall  always  be  in  anguish  and 
sorrow,  for  one  thing  or  other  shall  ever  displease  him. 

Therefore  take  heed  how  other  religious  persons  do,  that 
be  right  straitly  kept  under  the  rule  of  their  religion.  They 
go  seldom  forth,  they  live  hardly,  they  eat  poorly,  and  be 
clothed  grossly:  they  labour  much,  speak  little,  watch  long, 
rise  early,  make  long  prayers,  read  often,  and  keep  them 
selves  always  in  some  wholesome  doctrine.  Behold  the  Car 
thusians,  the  Cistercians,  and  many  other  monks  and  nuns 
of  divers  religions,  how  they  rise  every  night  to  serve  our 
Lord!  And  therefore  it  were  great  shame  to  thee,  that  thou 
shouldst  wax  slow  and  dull  in  so  holy  a  work,  when  so  many 
begin  to  laud  and  praise  our  Lord. 

O  how  joyous  a  life  were  it,  if  we  should  nothing  else  do, 
but  with  heart  and  mouth  continually  praise  our  Lord! 
Truly  if  we  should  never  need  to  eat,  drink,  nor  sleep,  but 
that  we  might  always  laud  Him,  and  only  take  heed  to 
spiritual  studies,  then  were  we  much  more  happy  and  blessed 
than  we  are  now,  when  we  are  bound  of  necessity  to  serve 
the  body.  O  would  to  God  that  these  bodily  meats  were 
turned  to  spiritual  refections,  which  (alas  for  sorrow!)  we 
take  but  seldom ! 

When  man  is  come  to  that  perfection  that  he  seeketh  not 
his  consolation  in  any  creature,  then  beginneth  God  first  to 
savour  sweet  unto  him,  and  then  also  he  shall  be  contented 
with  everything  that  cometh,  be  it  in  liking  or  misliking. 
Then  shall  he  be  glad  for  no  worldly  profit,  be  it  ever  so 
great;  nor  shall  he  be  sorry  for  the  wanting  of  it,  for  he  hath 
set  and  established  himself  wholly  in  God,  Who  is  unto  him 
all  in  all;  to  Whom  nothing  perisheth  nor  dieth,  but  all 
things  live  to  Him,  and  after  His  bidding  serve  Him  without 

In  everything  remember  the  end,  and  that  time  lost  can 
not  be  called  again.  Without  labour  and  diligence  thou  shalt 
never  get  virtue.  If  thou  begin  to  be  negligent  thou  begin- 
nest  to  be  feeble  and  weak;  but  if  thou  apply  thee  to  fervour 
thou  shalt  find  great  help  of  God,  and  for  the  love  of  virtue 
thou  shalt  find  less  pain  in  all  thy  labours  than  thou  didst 
first.  He  that  is  fervent  and  loving  is  always  quick  and  ready 
to  all  things  that  be  of  God  and  to  His  honour.  It  is  more 
labour  to  resist  vices  and  passions,  than  it  is  to  toil  and  sweat 
in  bodily  labours.  He  that  will  not  flee  small  sins,  shall  by 
little  and  little  fall  into  greater.  Thou  shalt  always  be  glad 
at  night,  when  thou  hast  spent  the  day  fruitfully.  Take 
heed  to  thyself,  and  always  stir  thyself  to  devotion.  Ad 
monish  thyself,  and  howsoever  thou  rememberest  others, 
forget  not  thyself:  and  as  thou  canst  break  thine  own  will 
and  follow  the  will  of  God,  so  much  shalt  thou  profit  in 






IJH  E  kingdom  of  God  is  within  you,  saith 
Christ  our  Saviour.  Turn  thee  therefore  with 
all  thy  heart  to  God,  and  forsake  this  wretched 
world/  and  thy  soul  shall  find  great  inward  rest. 
Learn  to  despise  outward  things,  and  give  thy 
self  to  inward  things,  and  thou  shalt  see  the 
kingdom  of  God  come  into  thyself.  The  king 
dom  of  God  is  peace  and  joy  in  the  Holy  Ghost, 
that  is  not  given  to  wicked  people.  Our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ  will  come  to  thee  and  will  show  to 
thee  His  consolations.  If  thou  wilt  make  ready 
for  Him  in  thy  heart  a  dwelling-place,  that  is 
all  He  desireth  to  have  in  thee,  and  there  it  is 
His  pleasure  to  be.  Betwixt  Almighty 

God  and  a  devout  soul  there  are  many  ghostly  visitings, 
sweet  inward  speaking,  great  gifts  of  grace,  many  consola 
tions,  much  heavenly  peace,  and  wondrous  familiarity  of  the 
blessed  presence  of  God. 

Therefore,  thou  faithful  soul,  prepare  thy  heart  to  Christ 
thy  Spouse,  that  He  may  come  to  thee  and  dwell  in  thee : 
for  He  saith  Himself:  If  a  man  love  me,  he  will  keep  my 
words :  and  my  Father  will  love  him,  and  we  will  come  unto 
him,  and  make  our  abode  with  him.  Give,  therefore,  to 
Christ  free  entry  into  thy  heart,  and  keep  out  all  things  that 
may  hinder  His  entry:  and  when  thou  hast  Him  thou  art 
rich  enough,  and  He  only  shall  suffice  to  thee.  He  shall  be 
thy  provider  and  defender,  and  thy  faithful  helper  in  every 
necessity :  so  that  thou  shalt  not  need  to  put  thy  trust  in  any 
other  without  Him.  Man  is  soon  changed,  and  lightly  falleth 
away,  but  Christ  abideth  for  ever,  and  standeth  strongly 
with  His  lover  unto  the  end. 

There  is  no  great  trust  to  be  put  in  man,  that  is  but  mortal 
and  frail,  though  he  be  right  much  profitable,  and  also  much 
beloved  unto  thee :  nor  is  any  great  heaviness  to  be  taken, 
though  he  sometime  turn  and  be  against  thee;  for  they  that 
this  day  be  with  thee,  to-morrow  may  happen  to  be  against 
thee,  and  may  oft  turn,  as  doth  the  wind.  Put  thy  full  trust 
therefore  in  God,  and  let  Him  be  thy  love  and  dread  above 
all  things.  He  will  answer  for  thee,  and  will  do  for  thee  in 
all  things  as  shall  be  most  needful  and  expedient  for  thee. 
Thou  hast  here  no  place  of  long  abiding,  for  wheresoever 
thou  be,  thou  art  but  a  stranger  and  a  pilgrim,  and  never 
shalt  thou  find  perfect  rest  till  thou  be  fully  united  to  God. 

Why  dost  thou  look  to  have  rest  here,  sith  this  is  not  thy 
resting-place?  Thy  full  rest  must  be  in  heavenly  things,  and 
all  earthly  things  thou  must  behold  as  things  transitory  and 
shortly  passing  away :  be  well  wary  thou  cleave  not  over 
much  to  them,  lest  thou  be  taken  with  love  of  them,  and  in 
the  end  perish  thereby.  Let  thy  thoughts  be  always  upward 


to  God,  and  direct  thy  prayers  to  Christ  continually:  and  if 
thou  may  not  for  frailty  always  occupy  thy  mind  in  con 
templation  of  the  Godhead,  be  then  occupied  with  mind  of 
His  Passion,  and  in  His  blessedWounds  make  thee  a  dwell 
ing  place.  And  if  thou  fly  devoutly  to  the  wound  of  Christ's 
Side,  and  to  the  marks  of  His  Passion,  thou  shalt  feel  great 
comfort  in  every  trouble.  Thou  shalt  little  care  though  thou 
be  openly  despised  in  the  world,  and  what  evil  words  soever 
be  spoken  of  thee,  they  shall  little  grieve  thee. 

Our  Master  Christ  was  despised  in  the  world  by  all  men, 
and  in  His  most  need  was  forsaken  of  His  acquaintance  and 
friends,  and  left  among  shames  and  rebukes.  He  would  suf 
fer  wrongs,  and  be  nought  set  by  in  the  world,  and  we  will 
not  that  any  man  do  us  wrong,  or  dispraise  our  deeds.  Christ 
had  many  adversaries  and  backbiters,  and  we  would  have 
all  to  be  our  friends  and  lovers.  How  shall  thy  patience  be 
crowned  in  heaven,  if  no  adversity  befall  thee  on  earth?  If 
thou  wilt  suffer  no  adversity,  how  mayest  thou  be  the  friend 
of  Christ?  It  behoveth  thee  to  suffer  with  Christ,  and  for 
Christ,  if  thou  wilt  reign  with  Christ. 

Truly,  if  thou  hadst  once  entered  into  the  bloody  wounds 
of  Jesus,  and  hadst  there  tasted  a  little  of  His  love,  thou 
wouldst  little  care  for  likings  and  mislikings  of  the  world, 
but  wrouldst  rather  have  great  joy  when  wrongs  and  reproofs 
were  done  unto  thee :  for  perfect  love  of  God  maketh  a  man 
perfectly  to  despise  himself.  The  true  inward  lover  of  God, 
that  is  free  from  all  inordinate  affections,  may  anon  turn 
himself  freely  to  God,  and  lift  himself  up  in  spirit  by  con 
templation,  and  fruitfully  rest  in  Christ. 

Also  he  to  whom  all  things  be  esteemed  as  they  be,  and 
not  as  they  be  taken  and  thought  to  be  by  worldly  people, 
is  very  wise,  and  is  rather  taught  of  God  than  of  man.  And 
he  that  can  inwardly  lift  his  mind  upward  to  God,  and  little 
regard  outward  things,  needeth  not  to  seek  for  time  and 
place  to  go  to  prayers,  or  to  do  other  good  deeds,  or  virtuous 


occupations.  For  the  ghostly  man  may  soon  gather  himself 
together  and  fix  his  mind  in  God,  for  he  never  suffereth  it  to 
be  fully  occupied  in  outward  things.  Therefore  his  outward 
labours/  and  his  worldly  occupations  necessary  for  the  time, 
hinder  him  but  little;  for  as  they  come,  so  he  applieth 
himself  to  them,  and  referreth  them  always  to  the  will 
of  God. 

Moreover,  a  man  that  is  well  ordered  in  his  soul,  forceth 
little  the  unkind  demeanour  of  worldly  people,  nor  yet  their 
proud  behaviour.  As  much  as  a  man  loveth  any  worldly 
thing  more  than  it  should  be  loved,  so  much  his  mind  is 
hindered  and  letted  from  the  true  ordinate  love  that  he 
should  have  to  God. 

If  thou  wert  well  purged  from  all  inordinate  affections, 
then,  whatsoever  should  befall  thee  would  go  to  thy  ghostly 
profit,  and  to  the  great  increasing  of  grace  and  virtue  in  thy 
soul.  But  the  cause  why  so  many  things  displease  thee  and 
trouble  thee,  is  that  thou  art  not  yet  perfectly  dead  to  the 
world,  nor  art  thou  yet  fully  severed  from  the  love  of  earthly 
things.  Nothing  so  much  defileth  the  soul  as  an  unclean  love 
to  creatures.  If  thou  forsake  to  be  outwardly  comforted  by 
worldly  things,  thou  mayest  behold  more  perfectly  heavenly 
things,  and  thou  shalt  then  continually  sing  lauds  and  prais 
ings  to  Him  with  great  joy  and  inward  gladness  of  heart. 

The  which  grant  thee  and  me  the  Blessed  Trinity.  Amen. 


REGARD  not  much  who  is  with  thee,  nor  who  is  against 
thee,  but  be  this  thy  greatest  study,  that  God  may  be 
with  thee.  In  everything  that  thou  dost,  have  a  good 
conscience,  and  He  shall  well  defend  thee.  And  whomsoever 
He  will  help  and  defend,  him  no  malice  may  hinder  or  grieve. 
If  thou  can  be  still  and  surfer  awhile,  thou  shalt  without 


doubt  see  the  help  of  God  come  in  thy  need.  He  knoweth 
the  time  and  place  how  to  deliver  thee,  and  therefore  thou 
must  resign  thyself  wholly  to  Him.  It  pertaineth  to  Him  to 
help  and  to  deliver  from  all  confusion.  Nevertheless  it  is 
oftentimes  much  profitable  to  us,  for  the  surer  keeping  of 
meekness,  that  other  men  know  our  defaults  and  reprove  us 
for  them. 

When  a  man  meeketh  himself  for  his  offences,  he  lightly 
pleaseth  others,  and  reconcileth  himself  to  them  whom  he 
hath  ofTended.  The  meek  man  Almighty  God  defendeth  and 
comforteth;  to  him  He  inclineth  Himself  and  sendeth  him 
great  plenty  of  His  grace.  To  him  also  He  sheweth  His 
secrets  and  lovingly  draweth  him  to  Himself,  and  after  his 
oppressions  He  lifteth  him  up  to  glory.  The  meek  man,  when 
he  hath  suffered  confusion  and  reproof,  is  in  good  peace, 
for  he  trusteth  in  God,  and  not  in  the  world.  Moreover,  if 
thou  wilt  come  to  the  highness  of  perfection,  think  not  thy 
self  to  have  profited  anything  in  virtue,  till  thou  canst  feel 
meekly  in  thy  heart  that  thou  hast  less  meekness  and  less 
virtue  than  hath  any  other. 


FIRST  put  thyself  in  peace,  and  then  mayest  thou  the 
better  pacify  others.  A  peaceful  and  patient  man  prof- 
iteth  more  to  himself  and  others  also,  than  a  man 
learned,  who  is  unpeaceful.  A  man  that  is  passionate  turneth 
oftentimes  good,  into  evil,  and  lightly  believeth  the  worst 
part:  but  a  good  peaceful  man  turneth  all  things  to  the  best, 
and  hath  suspicion  of  no  man.  But  he  that  is  not  content  is 
oft  troubled  with  many  suspicions,  and  neither  is  he  quiet 
himself,  nor  yet  sufTereth  he  others  to  be  quiet.  He  speaketh 
oftentimes  that  he  should  not  speak,  and  he  omitteth  to 
speak  that  which  it  were  more  expedient  to  be  spoken.  He 

considereth  greatly  what  others  be  bound  to  do,  but  to  do 
that  whereunto  he  himself  is  bounden,  he  is  full  negligent. 
Have  therefore  first  a  zeal  and  a  respect  to  thyself  and  to 
thine  own  soul,  and  then  mayest  thou,  the  more  righteously 
and  with  the  more  due  order  of  charity,  have  zeal  upon  thy 

Thou  art  anon  ready  to  excuse  thine  own  defaults,  but 
thou  wilt  not  hear  the  excuses  of  thy  brethren.  Truly  it 
were  more  charitable  and  more  profitable  to  thee  that  thou 
shouldst  accuse  thyself  and  excuse  thy  brother;  for  if  thou 
wilt  be  borne,  bear  another.  Behold  how  far  thou  art  yet 
from  perfect  charity  and  meekness/  which  cannot  be  angry 
with  any  one  but  with  themselves.  It  is  no  great  thing  to  be 
well  conversant  with  good  and  tractable  men,  for  this  natur 
ally  pleaseth  all,  and  every  man  gladly  hath  peace  and  most 
loveth  them  that  are  of  his  way  of  thinking :  but  to  live  peace 
ably  with  evil  men,  or  with  froward  men  that  lack  good 
manners  and  be  untaught,  or  with  those  that  be  also  con- 
trarious  unto  us,  is  a  great  grace  and  a  manly  deed,  and  is 
much  to  be  praised :  for  it  cannot  be  done  but  through  great 
ghostly  strength. 

Some  persons  can  be  quiet  themselves,  and  can  also  live 
quietly  with  others;  and  some  can  neither  be  quiet  them 
selves,  nor  yet  suffer  others  to  be  quiet.  They  be  grievous  to 
others,  but  they  be  more  grievous  to  themselves.  Some  can 
keep  themselves  in  good  peace,  and  can  bring  others  to  live 
in  peace. 

Nevertheless,  all  our  peace,  while  we  be  in  this  mortal 
life,  standeth  more  in  meek  suffering  of  troubles,  and  of 
things  that  be  contrarious  unto  us,  than  in  the  not  feeling 
of  them:  for  no  man  may  live  here  without  some  trouble. 
Therefore,  he  that  can  best  suffer  shall  have  most  peace.  He 
it  is  who  truly  overcometh  himself,  and  thus  is  a  lord  of  the 
world,  a  friend  of  Christ,  and  the  true  inheritor  of  the  king 
dom  of  heaven. 



[A  N  is  borne  up  from  earthly  things  with  two  wings,  that 
is  to  say,  with  plainness  and  cleanness :  plainness  is  in 
the  intent,  and  cleanness  is  in  the  love.The  good,  true, 
and  plain  intent  looketh  toward  God,  but  the  clean  love 
taketh  assay,  and  tasteth  His  sweetness.  If  thou  be  free  from 
all  inordinate  love,  no  good  deed  shall  hinder  thee,  but  thou 
shalt  therewith  increase  in  the  way  of  perfection.  If  thou 
intend  well,  and  if  thou  seek  nothing  but  God  and  the  profit 
of  thine  own  soul,  and  that  of  thy  neighbour,  thou  shalt 
have  great  inward  liberty  of  mind.  And  if  thy  heart  be 
straight  with  God,  then  every  creature  shall  be  to  thee  a 
mirror  of  life  and  a  book  of  holy  doctrine,  for  there  is  no 
creature  so  little  or  so  vile,  but  that  sheweth  and  representeth 
the  goodness  of  God. 

If  thou  wert  inwardly  in  thy  soul  pure  and  clean,  thou 
wouldst  then  without  letting  take  all  things  to  the  best.  A 
clean  heart  pierceth  both  heaven  and  hell.  Such  as  a  man  is 
in  his  conscience  inwardly,  such  he  sheweth  himself  to  be  in 
his  outward  conversation.  If  there  be  any  true  joy  in  this 
world,  that  hath  a  man  of  a  clean  conscience.  And  if  there  be 
anywhere  tribulation  or  anguish,  an  evil  conscience  knoweth 
it  best. 

Also,  as  iron  put  into  the  fire  is  cleansed  from  rust,  and 
is  made  all  clean  and  pure,  right  so  a  man  turning  himself 
wholly  to  God,  is  purged  from  all  slothfulness,  and  is  sud 
denly  changed  into  a  new  man. 

When  a  man  beginneth  to  wax  dull  and  slow  to  ghostly 
business,  then  a  little  labour  feareth  him  greatly,  and  then 
he  gladly  taketh  outward  comforts  of  the  world  and  of  the 
flesh:  but  when  he  beginneth  perfectly  to  overcome  himself, 
and  to  walk  strongly  in  the  way  of  God,  then  he  regardeth 
those  labours  but  little,  that  he  thought  before  to  be  right 
grievous  and  importable  to  him. 


|  E  M  A  Y  not  trust  much  in  ourselves,  or  in  our  own  wit, 
for  ofttimes  through  our  presumption  we  lack  grace, 
and  right  little  light  of  understanding  is  in  us :  and 
what  wre  have,  many  times  we  lose  through  our  own  negli 
gence.  Yet  we  do  not  see,  neither  will  we  see,  how  blind  we 
are.  Ofttimes  we  do  evil,  and  in  defence  thereof  we  do  much 
worse.  Sometimes  we  be  moved  with  passion,  and  we  ween 
it  to  be  of  a  zeal  to  God.  We  can  anon  reprove  small  defaults 
in  our  neighbours,  but  our  own  defaults,  that  be  much 
greater,  we  will  not  see.  We  feel  anon  and  ponder  greatly 
what  we  suffer  of  others,  but  what  others  suffer  of  us  we  will 
not  consider.  But  he  that  would  well  and  righteously  judge 
his  own  defaults  should  not  so  rigorously  judge  the  defaults 
of  his  neighbours. 

A  man  that  is  inwardly  turned  to  God  taketh  heed  of  him 
self  before  all  others;  and  he  that  can  well  take  heed  of  him 
self  can  lightly  be  still  of  other  men's  deeds.  Thou  shalt 
never  be  an  inward  man  and  a  devout  follower  of  Christ, 
unless  thou  canst  keep  thyself  from  meddling  with  other 
men's  deeds,  and  canst  especially  take  heed  of  thine  own. 
If  thou  take  heed  wholly  to  God  and  to  thyself,  the  defaults 
which  thou  seest  in  others  shall  little  move  thee.  Where  art 
thou  when  thou  art  not  present  to  thyself?  And  when  thou 
hast  run  over  all  things,  and  hast  considered  much  other 
men's  works,  what  hast  thou  profited  thereby,  if  thou  have 
forgotten  thyself?  If  thou  wilt  therefore  have  peace  in  thy 
soul,  and  be  perfectly  united  to  God  in  blessed  love,  set  apart 
all  other  men's  deeds,  and  only  set  thyself  and  thine  own 
deeds  before  the  eye  of  thy  soul,  and  what  thou  seest  amiss 
in  thee,  shortly  reform  it. 

Thou  shalt  much  profit  in  grace  if  thou  keep  thee  free 
from  all  temporal  cares,  but  it  shall  hinder  thee  greatly  if 
thou  set  price  by  any  temporal  things.  Therefore  let  nothing 
be  in  thy  sight  high,  nothing  great,  nothing  liking  or  accep- 


table  to  thee,  but  it  be  purely  God,  or  of  God.  Think  all 
comforts  vain  that  come  to  thee  by  any  creature.  He  that 
loveth  God,  and  his  own  soul  for  God,  despiseth  all  other 
love:  for  he  seeth  well  that  God  alone, Who  is  eternal,  in 
comprehensible,  and  that  fulfilleth  all  things  with  His  good 
ness,  is  the  whole  solace  and  comfort  of  the  soul,  and  that 
He  is  the  very  gladness  of  heart,  and  none  other  but  only  He. 


/^ "^™*H  E  glory  of  a  good  man  is  the  witness  of  God  that  he 
^  hath  a  good  conscience.  Have  therefore  a  good  con- 
|  science,  and  thou  shalt  always  have  gladness.  A  good 
conscience  may  bear  many  wrongs,  and  is  ever  merry  and 
glad  in  adversities;  but  an  evil  conscience  is  always  fearful 
and  unquiet.  Be  never  glad  but  when  thou  hast  done  well. 
Evil  men  never  have  perfect  gladness,  and  feel  not  inward 
peace,  for,  There  is  no  peace,  saith  the  Lord,  unto  the 
wicked.  And  though  they  say:  We  be  in  good  peace,  there 
shall  no  evil  come  to  us ;  lo !  who  may  grieve  us  or  hurt  us  ?  — 
believe  them  not,  for  suddenly  the  wrath  of  God  shall  fall 
upon  them  unless  they  amend,  and  all  that  they  have  done 
shall  turn  to  nought,  and  what  they  would  have  done  shall 
be  undone. 

It  is  no  grievous  thing  for  a  fervent  lover  of  God  to  joy 
in  tribulation,  for  all  his  joy  and  glory  is  to  joy  in  the  cross 
of  our  Lord  Jesus  Christ.  It  is  a  short  glory  that  is  given  by 
man,  and  commonly  some  heaviness  followeth  after.  The 
glory  of  good  men  is  in  their  own  conscience.  The  joy  of 
righteous  men  is  in  God  and  of  God,  and  their  gladness  is 
in  virtue  and  in  a  good  life.  He  that  desireth  the  very  perfect 
joy  that  is  everlasting,  setteth  little  price  by  temporal  joy; 
and  he  that  seeketh  any  worldly  joy,  or  doth  not  in  his  heart 
fully  despise  it,  showeth  himself  openly  to  love  but  little  the 
joy  of  heaven.  He  hath  great  tranquillity  and  peace  of  heart, 


that  neither  regardeth  praises  nor  dispraises;  and  he  shall 
soon  be  pacified  and  content  that  hath  a  good  conscience. 

Thou  art  not  the  better  because  thou  art  praised,  nor 
worse  if  thou  be  dispraised,  for  as  thou  art,  thou  art;  and 
whatsoever  be  said  of  thee,  thou  art  no  better  than  Almighty 
God  (Who  is  the  searcher  of  man's  heart)  will  witness  thee 
to  be.  If  thou  behold  what  thou  art  inwardly,  thou  shalt  not 
care  much  what  the  world  speaketh  of  thee  outwardly.  Man 
seeth  the  face,  but  God  beholdeth  the  heart.  Man  beholdeth 
the  deed,  but  God  beholdeth  the  intent  of  the  deed.  It  is  a 
great  token  of  a  meek  heart  for  a  man  ever  to  do  well,  and 
yet  to  think  himself  to  have  done  but  little.  And  it  is  a  great 
sign  of  cleanness  of  life,  and  of  inward  trust  in  God,  when 
a  man  taketh  not  his  comfort  of  any  creature. 

When  a  man  seeketh  no  outward  witness  for  himself,  it 
appeareth  that  he  hath  wholly  committed  himself  to  God. 
Also  after  the  words  of  St.  Paul,  not  he  that  commendeth 
himself  is  approved,  but  whom  the  Lord  commendeth;  and 
he  that  hath  his  mind  always  lifted  up  to  God,  and  is  not 
bound  with  any  inordinate  affection  outwardly,  is  in  the 
degree  and  in  the  state  of  a  holy  and  blessed  man. 


L  E  s  s  E  D  is  he  that  knoweth  how  good  it  is  to  love  Jesus, 
and  for  His  sake  to  despise  himself.  It  behoveth  the 
lover  of  Jesus  to  forsake  all  other  love  beside  Him,  for 
He  will  be  loved  only  above  all  other.  The  love  of  creatures 
is  deceivable  and  failing,  but  the  love  of  Jesus  is  faithful  and 
always  abiding.  He  that  cleaveth  to  any  creature  must  of 
necessity  fail,  as  doth  the  creature;  but  he  that  cleaveth 
abidingly  to  Jesus  shall  be  made  stable  in  Him  for  ever. 
Love  Him,  therefore,  and  hold  Him  thy  friend;  for  when 
all  others  forsake  thee,  He  will  not  forsake  thee,  nor  suffer 
thee  finally  to  perish. 


Thou  must  of  necessity  be  departed  from  thy  friends,  and 
from  all  man's  company,  whether  thou  wilt  or  not.  There 
fore,  living  and  dying,  keep  thyself  with  thy  Lord  Jesus, 
and  commit  thee  to  His  fidelity,  for  He  will  be  with  thee  and 
help  thee  when  all  others  forsake  thee.  Thy  Beloved  is  of 
such  nature  that  He  will  not  admit  any  other  love,  for  He 
will  have  alonely  the  love  of  thy  heart,  and  will  sit  therein 
as  a  king  in  his  proper  throne.  If  thou  couldst  well  avoid 
from  thee  the  love  of  creatures,  He  would  always  abide 
with  thee,  and  never  would  forsake  thee.  Whatsoever  trust 
thou  hast  put  in  anything  beside  Jesus,  thou  shalt  find  in  a 
manner  all  as  lost.  Put  not  thy  trust,  therefore,  in  any  such 
thing  that  is  but  as  a  quill  full  of  wind,  or  as  a  hollow  stick, 
which  is  not  able  to  sustain  thee  or  help  thee,  but  in  thy 
most  need  will  deceive  thee;  for  man  is  but  as  hay,  and  all 
his  glory  is  as  a  flower  in  the  field,  which  suddenly  vanisheth 
and  slideth  away. 

If  thou  take  heed  only  to  the  outward  appearance  thou 
shalt  soon  be  deceived;  and  if  thou  seek  thy  comfort  in  any 
thing  but  in  Jesus,  thou  shalt  feel  thereby  great  spiritual 
loss.  If  thou  seek  in  all  things  thy  Lord  Jesus,  thou  shalt 
truly  find  thy  Lord  Jesus;  and  if  thou  seek  thyself,  thou 
shalt  find  thyself,  but  it  shall  be  to  thine  own  great  loss. 
Truly  a  man  is  more  grievous  and  more  hurtful  to  himself, 
if  he  seek  not  his  Lord  Jesus,  than  all  the  world  and  all  his 
adversaries  may  be. 


t  t  I HENOur  Lord  Jesus  is  present  all  things  are  liking,  and 
I  nothing  seemeth  hard  to  do  for  His  Love;  but  when 

%J^J  He  is  absent,  all  things  that  are  done  for  His  love  are 
painful  and  hard. When  Jesus  speaketh  not  to  the  soul, 
there  is  no  faithful  consolation :  but  if  He  speak  one  word 
only,  the  soul  feeleth  great  inward  comfort.  Did  not  Mary 


Magdalen  rise  soon  from  weeping,  when  Martha  shewed 
her  that  her  Master  Christ  was  nigh  and  called  her?  Yes, 
truly.  O  that  is  a  happy  hour  when  Jesus  calleth  us  from 
weeping  to  joy  of  spirit!  Remember  how  dry  and  how  in- 
devout  thou  art  without  Jesus,  and  how  unwise,  how  vain, 
and  how  uncunning  thou  art  when  thou  desirest  anything 
beside  Jesus  /  truly  that  desire  is  more  hurtful  to  thee  than 
if  thou  hadst  lost  all  the  world. 

What  may  this  world  give  thee  but  through  the  help  of 
Jesus?  To  be  without  Jesus  is  a  pain  of  hell,  and  to  be  with 
Jesus  is  a  pleasant  paradise.  If  Jesus  be  with  thee  there  may 
no  enemy  grieve  thee,  and  he  that  findeth  Jesus  fmdeth  a 
great  treasure,  that  is  best  above  all  other  treasures;  but  he 
that  loseth  Jesus  loseth  very  much,  and  more  than  all  the 
world.  He  is  most  poor  that  liveth  without  Jesus;  and  he  is 
most  rich  that  is  with  Jesus. 

It  is  great  cunning  to  be  well  conversant  with  Jesus,  and 
to  keep  Him  is  right  great  wisdom.  Be  meek  and  peaceful, 
and  Jesus  shall  be  with  thee;  be  devout  and  quiet,  and  Jesus 
will  abide  with  thee.  Thou  mayest  anon  drive  away  thy 
Lord  Jesus  and  lose  His  grace,  if  thou  apply  thyself  to  out 
ward  things;  and  if  through  negligence  thou  lose  Him,  what 
friend  shalt  thou  then  have?  Without  a  friend  thou  mayest 
not  long  endure,  and  if  Jesus  be  not  thy  friend  before  all 
others,  thou  shalt  be  very  heavy  and  desolate.  Therefore 
thou  dost  not  wisely,  if  thou  trust  or  joy  in  any  other  thing 
beside  Him.  We  should  rather  choose  to  have  all  the  world 
against  us,  than  to  offend  God.  Of  all  therefore  that  be  to 
thee  lief  and  dear,  let  thy  Lord  Jesus  be  to  thee  most  lief 
and  dear.  Let  all  others  be  loved  for  Him,  and  He  only 
for  Himself. 

Jesus  only  is  to  be  beloved  for  Himself,  for  He  only  is 
proved  good  and  faithful  before  all  other  friends.  In  Him 
and  for  Him  both  enemies  and  friends  are  to  be  beloved,  and 
for  them  all  we  ought  meekly  to  pray  to  Him,  that  so  He 

may  be  beloved  and  honoured  of  all  His  creatures.  Never 
desire  to  be  singularly  loved  or  commended,  for  that  be- 
longeth  only  to  God/ Who  hath  none  like  unto  Him.  Desire 
not  that  any  one  be  occupied  with  thee  in  his  heart,  nor  be 
thou  occupied  with  love  of  any  creature;  but  let  thy  Lord 
Jesus  be  in  thee/  and  in  every  good  man  and  woman. 

Be  pure  and  clean  inwardly/  without  hindrance  of  any 
creature,  for  it  behoveth  thee  to  have  a  right  clean  and  pure 
heart  to  Jesus/  if  thou  wilt  know  and  feel  how  sweet  He  is. 
And  verily  thou  mayest  not  come  to  that  purity  unless  thou 
be  prevented  and  drawn  through  His  grace,  and,  having 
set  apart  all  other  things,  thou  be  inwardly  knit  and  united 
to  Him.  When  the  grace  of  God  cometh  to  a  man,  then  is 
he  made  mighty  and  strong  to  do  everything  that  belongeth 
to  virtue;  and  when  grace  withdraweth,  then  is  he  made 
weak  and  feeble  to  do  any  good  deed,  and  left  as  it  were 
only  to  punishment  and  pain.  If  it  happen  so  with  thee,  yet 
despair  not  overmuch,  nor  leave  thy  good  deeds  undone; 
but  always  stand  strongly  after  the  will  of  God,  and  turn 
all  things  that  shall  come  to  thee  to  the  laud  and  praisings 
of  His  Name.  For  after  winter  cometh  summer;  after  the 
night  cometh  the  day;  and  after  a  great  tempest  sheweth 
again  right  clear  and  pleasant  weather. 



T  I S  no  great  thing  to  despise  man's  comfort  when  the  com 
fort  of  God  is  present;  but  it  is  a  great  thing,  and  that  a 
right  great  thing,  for  a  man  to  be  so  strong  in  spirit  that  he 
may  bear  the  wanting  of  them  both,  and  for  the  love  of  God, 
and  to  His  honour,  to  have  a  ready  will  to  bear  desolation 
of  spirit,  and  yet  in  nothing  to  seek  himself,  or  his  own 
merits.  What  proof  of  virtue  is  it  if  a  man  be  merry  and 
devout  in  God  when  grace  cometh  and  visiteth  the  soul? 

for  that  hour  is  desired  of  every  creature.  He  rideth  safely 
whom  the  grace  of  God  beareth  and  supporteth;  and  what 
marvel  is  it  if  he  feel  no  burden  who  is  borne  up  by  Him 
Who  is  Almighty,  and  is  led  by  the  sovereign  guide,  God 

We  be  always  glad  to  have  solace  and  consolation,  but 
we  would  have  no  tribulation,  and  we  do  not  lightly  cast 
from  us  the  false  love  of  ourself.  The  blessed  martyr  St. 
Laurence,  through  the  love  of  God,  mightily  overcame  the 
love  of  the  world  and  of  himself,  for  he  despised  all  that  was 
liking  and  delectable  in  the  world;  and  Sixtus  the  Pope, 
whom  he  most  loved,  he  meekly  suffered  for  the  love  of 
Christ  to  be  taken  from  him.  So  through  the  love  of  the 
Creator  he  overcame  the  love  of  man;  and  instead  of  man's 
comfort  he  chose  rather  to  follow  the  will  of  God.  Do  thou 
in  like  wise,  and  learn  to  forsake  some  necessary  and  well- 
beloved  friend  for  the  love  of  God.  Take  it  not  grievously 
when  thou  art  left  or  forsaken  of  thy  friend,  for  of  necessity 
it  behoveth  worldly  friends  to  be  dissevered. 

It  behoveth  a  man  to  fight  long  and  to  strive  mightily 
with  himself,  before  he  shall  learn  fully  to  overcome  him 
self,  or  be  able  freely  and  readily  to  set  all  his  desires  in 
God.  When  a  man  loveth  himself,  and  trusteth  much  to  him 
self,  he  falleth  anon  to  man's  comforts,-  but  the  very  true 
lover  of  Christ,  and  the  diligent  follower  of  virtue,  falleth 
not  so  lightly  to  them,  and  seeketh  not  sensible  sweetness, 
but  rather  is  glad  to  suffer  great  labours  and  hard  pain  for 
the  love  of  Christ. 

Nevertheless,  when  ghostly  comfort  is  sent  to  thee  of 
God,  take  it  meekly,  and  give  humble  thanks  for  it;  but 
know  for  certain  that  it  is  of  the  great  goodness  of  God  that 
sendeth  it  to  thee,  and  not  of  thy  deserving.  Look  thou  be 
not  therefore  lifted  up  into  pride,  or  that  thou  joy  much 
thereof;  presume  not  vainly  therein,  but  be  rather  the  more 
meek  for  so  noble  a  gift,  and  more  wary  and  fearful  in  all 

thy  works;  for  that  time  will  pass  away,  and  the  time  of 
temptation  will  shortly  follow  after.  When  comfort  is  with 
drawn/  despair  not,  but  patiently  abide  the  visitation  of 
God;  for  He  is  able  and  of  power  to  give  thee  more  grace 
and  more  ghostly  comfort  than  thou  hadst  first.  Such  altera 
tion  of  grace  is  no  new  or  strange  thing  to  them  that  have 
had  experience  in  the  way  of  God,  for  the  like  alteration  was 
many  times  found  in  great  Saints  and  holy  Prophets. 

Wherefore  the  Prophet  David  saith :  Ego  dixi  in  abun- 
dantia  mea,  non  movebor  in  aeternum.  That  is  to  say :  When 
David  had  abundance  of  ghostly  comfort,  he  said  to  our 
Lord,  that  he  trusted  he  should  never  be  removed  from  such 
comfort.  But  after,  when  grace  withdrew,  he  said:  Avertisti 
faciem  tuam  a  me,  et  factus  sum  conturbatus.  That  is:  O 
Lord  I  Thou  hast  withdrawn  Thy  ghostly  comforts  from  me, 
and  I  am  left  in  great  trouble  and  heaviness.  Yet  neverthe 
less  he  despaireth  not,  but  prayed  heartily  unto  our  Lord, 
and  said:  Ad  te,  Domine,  clamabo,  et  ad  Deum  meum  de- 
precabor.  That  is  to  say :  I  shall  busily  cry  to  Thee,  O  Lord, 
and  I  shall  meekly  pray  to  Thee  for  grace  and  comfort. 
Anon,  he  had  the  effect  of  his  prayer,  as  he  himself  wit- 
nesseth,  saying  thus:  Audivit  Dominus  et  misertus  est  mei, 
Dominus  factus  est  adjutor  meus.  That  is:  The  Lord  hath 
heard  my  prayer,  and  hath  had  mercy  on  me;  He  hath 
again  sent  me  His  help  and  ghostly  comfort.  Therefore  he 
saith  afterwards :  Thou  hast  turned  for  me  my  mourning  into 
dancing;  thou  hast  put  off  my  sackcloth,  and  girded  me  with 

If  Almighty  God  hath  thus  done  with  holy  Saints,  it  is 
not  for  us  weak  and  feeble  persons  to  despair,  though  we 
sometimes  have  fervour  of  spirit,  and  sometimes  be  left 
cold  and  void  of  devotion.  The  Holy  Ghost  goeth  and 
cometh  after  His  pleasure,  and  therefore  the  holy  man  Job 
saith: What  is  man,  that  thou  shouldest  magnify  him?  and 
that  thou  shouldest  visit  him  every  morning,  that  is  to  say, 


in  the  time  of  comfort,  and  try  him  every  moment,  by  with 
drawing  such  comforts  from  him. 

Wherein  then  may  I  trust,  or  in  whom  may  I  have  any 
confidence,  but  only  in  the  great  grace  and  endless  mercy 
of  God?  For  neither  the  company  of  good  men,  nor  the 
fellowship  of  devout  brethren  and  faithful  friends :  neither 
the  having  of  holy  books  or  devout  treatises,  nor  the  hear 
ing  of  sweet  songs  or  of  devout  hymns,  may  little  avail,  and 
bring  forth  but  little  comfort  to  the  soul,  when  we  are  left 
to  our  own  frailty  and  poverty.  When  we  be  so  left,  there 
is  no  better  remedy  but  patience,  with  a  whole  resigning  of 
our  own  will  to  the  will  of  God. 

I  never  yet  found  any  religious  person  so  perfect,  but  that 
he  had  sometimes  absenting  of  grace,  or  some  minishing 
of  fervour:  and  there  was  never  yet  any  Saint  so  highly 
ravished  but  that  he  first  or  last  had  some  temptation.  He  is 
not  worthy  to  have  the  high  gift  of  contemplation,  that  hath 
not  suffered  for  God  some  tribulation.  The  temptations 
going  before  were  wont  to  be  a  soothfast  token  of  heavenly 
comfort  shortly  coming  after.  For  to  them  that  be  found 
stable  in  their  temptations  is  promised  by  our  Lord  great 

And  therefore  He  saith  thus:  To  him  that  overcometh 
will  I  give  to  eat  of  the  tree  of  life. 

Heavenly  comfort  is  sometimes  given  to  a  man,  that  he 
may  after  be  more  strong  to  suffer  adversities :  but  tempta 
tion  followeth  that  he  be  not  lifted  up  into  pride,  and  think 
himself  worthy  of  such  consolation.  The  ghostly  enemy 
sleepeth  not,  neither  is  the  flesh  yet  fully  mortified :  there 
fore  thou  shalt  never  cease  to  prepare  thyself  to  ghostly 
battle,  for  thou  hast  enemies  on  every  side,  that  will  ever  be 
ready  to  assail  thee,  and  hinder  thy  good  purpose  all  that 
they  can. 


0    I    i  HYseekestthou  restheresiththou  art  bornto  labour? 
I  Dispose  thyself  to  patience  rather  than  to  comforts,  to 

\J^J  bear  the  cross  of  penance  rather  than  to  have  gladness. 
What  temporal  man  would  not  gladly  have  spiritual  com 
forts  if  he  might  always  keep  them?  For  spiritual  comforts 
exceed  far  all  worldly  delights  and  all  bodily  pleasures  ;  since 
all  worldly  delights  be  either  foul  or  vain,  but  ghostly  de 
lights  are  alone  jocund  and  honest,  brought  forth  by  virtues 
and  sent  of  God  into  a  clean  soul.  Such  comforts  no  man 
may  have  when  he  would,  for  the  time  of  temptation  tarrieth 
not  long. 

The  false  liberty  of  will,  and  the  overmuch  trust  that  we 
have  in  ourself  ,  be  much  contrary  to  the  heavenly  visitations. 
Our  Lord  doth  well  in  sending  such  comforts,  but  we  do  not 
well  when  we  yield  no  thanks  to  Him  again.  The  greatest 
cause  why  the  gifts  of  grace  may  not  lightly  come  to  us,  is 
that  we  be  unkind  to  the  Giver  and  yield  not  thanks  to  Him 
from  whom  all  goodness  comes.  Grace  is  always  given  to 
them  that  be  ready  to  yield  thanks.  And  therefore  that  shall 
be  taken  from  the  proud  man  which  is  wont  to  be  given  to 
the  meek  man. 

I  would  none  of  that  consolation  that  should  take  from 
me  compunction,  nor  any  of  that  contemplation  that  should 
lift  my  soul  into  presumption.  Every  high  thing  in  the  sight 
of  man  is  not  holy,  nor  every  desire  clean  and  pure:  every 
sweet  thing  is  not  good,  nor  is  every  thing  dear  to  man  al 
ways  pleasant  to  God.  We  shall  therefore  gladly  take  such 
gifts  whereby  we  shall  be  the  more  ready  to  forsake  ourself 
and  our  own  will.  He  that  knoweth  the  comforts  that  come 
through  the  gift  of  grace,  and  knoweth  also  how  sharp  and 
painful  is  the  absenting  of  grace,  will  not  dare  to  think  that 
any  goodness  cometh  of  himself,  but  he  will  openly  confess 


that  of  himself  he  is  right  poor  and  naked  of  all  virtue :  yield 
therefore  to  God  that  which  is  His,  and  to  thyself  that  which 
if  thine :  that  is  to  say,  thank  God  for  His  manifold  graces, 
and  blame  thyself  for  thine  offences. 

Hold  in  thee  always  a  sure  foundation  of  meekness,  and 
then  the  highness  of  virtue  shall  shortly  be  given  unto  thee : 
for  the  high  tower  of  virtue  may  not  long  stand,  but  if  it  be 
borne  up  with  the  low  foundations  of  meekness.  They  that 
be  greatest  in  heaven,  be  least  in  their  own  sight:  and  the 
more  glorious  they  be,  the  meeker  they  are  in  themselves, 
full  of  truth  and  heavenly  joy,  not  desirous  of  vain-glory  and 
praising  of  men. 

They  also  that  be  fully  stabled  and  confirmed  in  God 
may  in  nowise  be  lifted  up  into  pride.  And  they  that  ascribe 
all  goodness  to  God  seek  no  vain-glory  or  vain  praisings 
in  the  world,  but  they  desire  only  to  joy  and  to  be  glori 
fied  in  God,  and  desire  in  heart  that  He  may  be  honoured, 
lauded,  and  praised  above  all  things,  both  in  Himself  and 
in  all  His  Saints:  and  that  is  always  the  thing  that  per 
fect  men  most  covet,  and  most  desire  to  bring  about.  Be 
thou  loving  and  thankful  to  God  for  the  least  benefit  that 
He  giveth  thee,  and  then  shalt  thou  be  the  more  apt  and 
worthy  to  receive  of  Him  greater  benefits.  Think  the  least 
gift  that  He  giveth  is  great,  and  the  most  despisable  things 
accept  as  special  gifts  and  great  tokens  of  love :  for  if  the 
dignity  of  the  Giver  be  well  considered,  no  gift  that  He 
giveth  will  seem  little.  It  is  no  little  thing  that  is  given  of 
God:  for  though  He  send  pain  and  sorrow  we  should  take 
them  gladly  and  thankfully,  for  it  is  for  our  ghostly  health 
all  that  He  suffereth  to  come  unto  us.  If  a  man  desire  to  hold 
the  grace  of  God  let  him  be  thankful  for  such  grace  as  he 
hath  received,  patient  when  it  is  withdrawn,  and  pray  de 
voutly  that  it  may  shortly  come  again.  Let  him  be  meek 
and  low  in  spirit,  that  he  lose  it  not  again  through  his  pre 
sumption  and  pride  of  heart. 


f  ESUS  hath  many  lovers  of  His  kingdom  of  heaven,  but 
I  He  hath  few  bearers  of  His  cross.  Many  desire  His 
s^r  consolation,  but  few  desire  His  tribulation.  He  findeth 
many  fellows  at  eating  and  drinking,  but  He  findeth  few  that 
will  be  with  Him  in  His  abstinence  and  fasting.  All  men 
would  joy  with  Him,  but  few  would  anything  suffer  for 
Christ.  Many  follow  Him  to  the  breaking  of  His  bread  for 
their  bodily  refection,  but  few  will  follow  Him  to  drink  a 
draught  of  the  chalice  of  His  Passion.  Many  marvel  and 
honour  His  miracles,  but  few  will  follow  the  shame  of  His 
cross.  Many  love  Jesus  so  long  as  no  adversity  befalleth 
them,  and  can  praise  Him  and  bless  Him  when  they  receive 
any  benefit  of  Him :  but  if  Jesus  a  little  withdraw  Himself 
from  them,  and  a  little  forsake  them,  anon  they  fall  to  some 
great  grudging,  or  to  overgreat  dejection. 

They  that  love  Jesus  purely  for  Himself,  and  not  for  their 
own  profit  and  commodity  bless  Him  as  heartily  in  tempta 
tion,  tribulation,  and  all  other  adversities  as  they  do  in  the 
time  of  consolation.  And  if  He  never  sent  them  consolation, 
yet  would  they  always  laud  Him  and  praise  Him. 

O  how  much  may  the  love  of  Jesus  do  to  the  help  of  a 
soul,  if  it  be  pure  and  clean,  not  mixed  with  any  inordinate 
love  to  self!  May  not  they  then  that  ever  look  for  worldly 
comforts,  and  for  worldly  consolations,  be  called  worldly 
merchants  and  worldly  lovers,  rather  than  lovers  of  God? 
Do  they  not  openly  shew  by  their  deeds  that  they  rather 
love  themselves  than  God? 

O  where  may  be  found  any  that  will  serve  God  freely  and 
purely,  without  looking  for  some  reward  for  it  again !  And 
where  may  be  found  any  one  so  spiritual  that  he  is  clearly 
delivered  and  bereft  of  love  of  himself,  that  is  truly  poor  in 
spirit,  and  wholly  avoided  from  love  of  creatures?  I  trow 
none  such  can  be  found  but  it  be  far  hence  and  in  far  coun- 


tries.  If  a  man  gave  all  his  substance  for  God,  yet  it  is  nought : 
and  if  he  do  great  penance  for  his  sins,  yet  it  is  but  little :  and 
if  he  have  great  cunning  and  knowledge,  yet  he  is  far  from 
virtue :  and  if  he  have  great  virtue  and  burning  devotion,  yet 
much  wanteth  in  him :  and  that  is  specially  one  thing  need 
ful  to  him.  What  is  that?  That  all  things  forsaken,  and  him 
self  also  forsaken,  he  go  clearly  from  himself,  and  keep 
nothing  to  himself  of  any  private  love.  And  when  he  hath 
done  all  that  he  ought  to  do,  that  he  feel  in  himself  as  he 
had  nothing  done. 

Also  that  he  think  not  that  great  which  others  might 
think  great,  but  that  he  think  himself  truly,  as  he  is,  an  un 
profitable  servant:  for  the  Author  of  Truth  our  Saviour 
Christ  saith :  When  ye  shall  have  done  all  those  things  which 
are  commanded  you,  say,  We  are  unprofitable  servants. 
Then  he  that  can  thus  do  may  well  be  called  poor  in  spirit, 
and  naked  of  private  love :  and  he  may  well  say  with  the 
Prophet  David:  I  am  desolate  and  afflicted.  There  is  none 
more  rich,  none  more  free,  nor  any  of  more  power  than  he 
that  can  forsake  himself  and  all  passing  things,  and  that 
truly  can  hold  himself  to  be  lowest  and  vilest  of  all  others. 


/  ™J     "HE  words  of  our  Saviour  be  thought  very  hard  and 
V          grievous  when  He  saith  thus :  If  any  man  will  come  after 
I      me,  let  him  deny  himself,  and  take  up  his  cross,  and 
follow  me.  But  much  more  grievous  shall  it  be  to  hear  these 
words  at  the  last  day:  Depart  from  me,  ye  cursed,  into  ever 
lasting  fire.  But  those  that  now  gladly  hear  and  follow  the 
words  of  Christ,  whereby  He  counselleth  them  to  follow 
Him,  shall  not  then  need  to  dread  for  hearing  those  words 
of  everlasting  damnation.  The  sign  of  the  cross  shall  appear 
in  heaven  when  our  Lord  shall  come  to  judge  the  world, 


and  the  servants  of  the  cross,  who  conformed  themselves 
here  in  this  life  to  Christ  crucified  on  the  cross,  shall  go  to 
Christ  their  Judge  with  great  faith  and  trust  in  Him. 

Why  dost  thou  dread  to  take  the  cross,  sith  it  is  the  very 
way  to  the  kingdom  of  heaven,  and  none  but  that?  In  the 
cross  is  health,  in  the  cross  is  life,  in  the  cross  is  defence  from 
our  enemies,  in  the  cross  is  the  infusion  of  heavenly  sweet 
ness,  in  the  cross  is  the  strength  of  mind,  the  joy  of  spirit, 
the  highness  of  virtue,  and  the  full  perfection  of  all  holiness : 
and  there  is  no  health  of  soul  nor  hope  of  everlasting  life  but 
through  virtue  of  the  cross.  Take  the  cross,  therefore,  and 
follow  Jesus,  and  thou  shalt  go  into  the  life  everlasting.  He 
hath  gone  before  thee  bearing  His  cross,  and  died  for  thee 
upon  the  cross,  that  thou  shouldst  in  like  wise  bear  with 
Him  the  cross  of  penance  and  tribulation,  and  that  thou 
shouldst  be  ready  for  His  love  to  suffer  death,  if  need  re 
quire,  as  He  hath  done  for  thee.  If  thou  die  with  Him,  thou 
shalt  live  with  Him :  and  if  thou  be  fellow  with  Him  in  pain, 
thou  shalt  be  with  Him  in  glory. 

Behold,  then,  how  in  the  cross  standeth  all,  and  how  in 
dying  to  the  world  lieth  all  our  health.  And  there  is  no  other 
way  to  true  and  inward  peace  but  the  way  of  the  cross,  and 
of  daily  mortifying  of  the  body  to  the  spirit.  Go  whither 
thou  wilt,  and  seek  what  thou  list,  and  thou  shalt  never  find 
above  thee,  or  beneath  thee,  within  thee  or  without  thee,  a 
higher,  more  excellent,  or  surer  way  to  Christ  than  the 
way  of  the  holy  cross.  Dispose  everything  after  thy  will, 
and  thou  shalt  ever  find  that  thou  must  of  necessity  suffer 
somewhat,  either  with  thy  will  or  against  thy  will,  and  thou 
shalt  always  find  the  cross :  for  either  thou  shalt  feel  pain 
in  thy  body,  or  in  thy  soul  thou  shalt  have  trouble  of  spirit. 

Thou  shalt  be  sometimes  as  thou  were  forsaken  of  God. 
Sometimes  thou  shalt  be  vexed  with  thy  neighbour,  and, 
what  is  more  painful,  thou  shalt  sometimes  be  grievous  to 
thyself.  Neither  shalt  thou  find  means  to  be  delivered,  but 


that  it  behoveth  thee  to  suffer  till  it  shall  please  Almighty 
God  of  His  goodness  otherwise  to  dispose  for  thee :  for  He 
willeth  that  thou  shalt  learn  to  surfer  tribulation  without 
consolation,  that  thou  mayest  wholly  submit  thyself  to  Him, 
and  by  tribulation  be  made  more  meek.  No  man  feeleth  the 
Passion  of  Christ  so  effectuously  as  he  that  feeleth  like  pain 
as  Christ  did.  This  cross  is  always  ready,  and  everywhere  it 
abideth  thee/  and  thou  mayest  not  flee  nor  fully  escape  it, 
wheresoever  thou  goest;  for  in  what  place  soever  thou  art, 
thou  shalt  bear  thyself  about  with  thee,  and  so  always  shalt 
thou  find  thyself.  Turn  thee  where  thou  wilt,  above  thee, 
beneath  thee,  within  thee,  and  without  thee,  and  thou  shalt 
find  this  cross  on  every  side,  so  that  it  shall  be  necessary  for 
thee  that  thou  always  keep  thee  in  patience;  and  this  it 
behoveth  thee  to  do  if  thou  wilt  have  inward  peace,  and 
deserve  the  perpetual  crown  in  heaven. 

If  thou  wilt  gladly  bear  the  cross,  it  shall  bear  thee,  and 
bring  thee  to  the  end  that  thou  desirest,  where  thou  shalt 
never  after  have  anything  to  suffer.  If  thou  bear  the  cross 
against  thy  will,  thou  makest  a  great  burden  for  thyself,  and 
it  will  be  the  more  grievous  to  thee :  and  yet  it  behoveth  thee 
to  bear  it.  If  it  happen  thee  to  put  away  one  cross,  that  is  to 
say,  one  tribulation,  yet  surely  another  will  come,  and  haply 
more  grievous  than  the  first  was. 

Trowest  thou  to  escape  that  which  never  yet  any  mortal 
man  might  escape?  What  Saint  in  this  world  hath  been  with 
out  this  cross,  and  without  some  trouble?  Truly  our  Lord 
Jesus  was  not  one  hour  without  some  sorrow  and  pain  as 
long  as  He  lived  here,  for  it  behoved  Him  to  suffer  death, 
and  to  rise  again,  and  so  enter  into  His  glory.  And  how 
is  it  then  that  thou  seekest  any  other  way  to  heaven  than 
this  plain  way  of  the  cross? 

All  the  life  of  Christ  was  cross  and  martyrdom;  and  thou 
seekest  pleasure  and  joy.  Thou  errest  greatly,  if  thou  seek 
any  other  thing  than  to  surfer:  for  all  this  mortal  life  is  full 


of  miseries,  and  is  all  beset  about  and  marked  with  crosses. 
And  the  more  highly  that  a  man  profiteth  in  spirit,  the  more 
painful  crosses  shall  he  find;  for  by  the  soothfastness  of 
Christ's  love,  wherein  he  daily  increaseth,  daily  appeareth 
unto  him  more  and  more  the  pain  of  his  exile. 

Nevertheless,  a  man  thus  vexed  with  pain  is  not  left 
wholly  without  all  comfort,  for  he  seeth  well  that  great  fruit 
and  high  reward  shall  grow  unto  him  by  the  bearing  of  his 
cross.  And  when  a  man  freely  submitteth  himself  to  such 
tribulation,  then  all  the  burden  of  tribulation  is  suddenly 
turned  into  a  great  trust  of  heavenly  consolation.  The  more 
the  flesh  is  punished  with  tribulation,  the  more  is  the  soul 
strengthened  daily  by  inward  consolation.  And  sometimes 
the  soul  shall  feel  such  comfort  in  adversities,  that  for  the 
love  and  desire  that  it  hath  to  be  conformed  to  Christ  cruci 
fied,  it  would  not  be  without  sorrow  and  trouble :  for  it  con- 
sidereth  well  that  the  more  it  may  suffer  for  His  love  here, 
the  more  acceptable  shall  it  be  to  Him  in  the  life  to  come. 
But  it  is  not  of  the  power  of  man,  but  through  the  grace  of 
God,  that  a  frail  man  should  take  and  love  that  which  his 
bodily  kind  abhorreth  and  flieth. 

For  it  is  not  in  the  power  of  man  gladly  to  bear  the  cross, 
to  love  the  cross,  to  chastise  the  body,  and  to  make  it  obe 
dient  to  the  will  of  the  spirit:  to  flee  honours,  gladly  to 
sustain  reproofs,  to  despise  himself,  and  to  covet  to  be 
despised;  patiently  to  suffer  adversities  with  all  the  displeas 
ures  thereof,  and  not  to  desire  any  manner  of  profit  in  this 
world.  If  thou  trust  in  thyself  thou  shalt  never  bring  this 
about;  but  if  thou  trust  in  God,  He  shall  send  thee  strength 
from  heaven,  and  the  world  and  the  flesh  shall  be  made 
subject  to  thee.  Yea,  if  thou  be  strongly  armed  with  faith, 
and  be  marked  with  the  cross  of  Christ,  as  His  household 
servant,  thou  shalt  not  need  to  fear  thy  ghostly  enemy,  for 
he  shall  also  be  made  subject  to  thee,  so  that  he  shall  have 
no  power  against  thee. 


Purpose  thyself,  therefore,  as  a  true  faithful  servant  of 
God,  manfully  to  bear  the  cross  of  thy  Lord  Jesus,  Who  for 
thy  love  was  crucified  on  the  cross.  Prepare  thyself  to  suffer 
all  manner  of  adversities  and  discommodities  in  this  wretched 
life,  for  so  shall  it  be  with  thee  wheresoever  thou  hide  thee. 
And  there  is  no  remedy  to  escape,  but  that  thou  must  keep 
thyself  always  in  patience.  If  thou  desire  to  be  a  dear  and 
well-beloved  friend  of  Christ,  drink  effectuously  with  Him 
a  draught  of  the  chalice  of  His  tribulation.  As  for  consola 
tions,  commit  them  to  His  will,  that  He  order  them  as  He 
knoweth  most  expedient  for  thee :  but  as  for  thyself,  dispose 
thee  to  suffer,  and  when  tribulations  come,  take  them  as 
special  consolations,  saying  with  the  Apostle  thus :  The  suf 
ferings  of  this  present  time  are  not  worthy  to  be  compared 
with  the  glory  which  shall  be  revealed  in  us/  yea,  though 
thou  thyself  mightest  suffer  as  much  as  all  men  do. 

When  thou  comest  to  that  degree  of  patience,  that  tribu 
lation  is  sweet  to  thee,  and  for  the  love  of  God  is  savoury 
and  pleasant  in  thy  sight,  then  mayest  thou  trust  that  it  is 
well  with  thee,  and  that  thou  art  in  good  estate ;  for  thou  hast 
found  paradise  on  earth.  But  as  long  as  it  is  grievous  to  thee 
to  suffer,  and  thou  seekest  to  flee,  so  long  it  shall  not  be 
well  with  thee,  and  thou  shalt  not  be  in  the  perfect  way  of 

But  if  thou  couldst  bring  thyself  to  that  estate  at  which 
thou  shouldst  be,  that  is  to  suffer  gladly  for  God  and  to  die 
fully  to  the  world,  then  should  it  shortly  be  better  with  thee, 
and  thou  wouldst  find  great  peace.  Yet  although  thou  were 
rapt  with  Saint  Paul  into  the  third  heaven,  thou  wouldst 
not  therefore  be  free  from  all  adversity:  for  our  Saviour, 
speaking  of  Saint  Paul,  said  thus  of  him:  I  will  shew  him 
how  great  things  he  must  suffer  for  my  name's  sake.  To 
suffer  therefore  to  thee  remaineth,  if  thou  wilt  love  thy  Lord 
Jesus,  and  serve  Him  perpetually.  Would  to  God  that  thou 
wert  worthy  to  suffer  somewhat  for  His  love !  O  how  great 


joy  would  it  be  to  thee  to  suffer  for  Him!  What  gladness  to 
all  the  Saints  of  heaven !  How  great  edifying  to  thy  neigh 
bour!  All  men  commend  patience,  and  yet  few  men  will  to 
suffer.  Righteously  oughtest  thou,  that  sufferest  much  for 
the  world,  to  suffer  some  little  thing  for  God. 

Know  this  for  certain,  that  it  behoveth  thee  to  lead  a 
dying  life,  and  the  more  that  thou  canst  die  to  thyself  here, 
the  more  thou  beginnest  to  live  to  God.  No  man  is  apt  to 
receive  the  heavenly  reward,  but  he  has  first  learned  to  bear 
adversities  for  the  love  of  Christ.  Nothing  is  more  acceptable 
to  God,  or  more  profitable  to  man  in  this  world,  than  to  be 
glad  to  suffer  for  Christ.  Insomuch  that  if  it  were  put  in 
thy  election,  thou  shouldst  rather  choose  adversity  than 
prosperity:  for  then,  by  the  patient  suffering  thereof  thou 
wouldst  be  more  like  to  Christ,  and  the  more  conformed  to 
all  His  Saints.  Our  merit  and  our  perfection  of  life  standeth 
not  in  consolations  and  sweetness,  but  rather  in  suffering  of 
great  adversities  and  grievous  tribulations. 

For  if  there  had  been  any  nearer  or  better  way  for  the 
health  of  man's  soul  than  to  suffer,  our  Lord  Jesus  would 
have  shewed  it  by  word  and  by  example.  But  as  there  was 
not,  therefore  He  openly  exhorted  the  disciples  that  fol 
lowed  Him,  and  all  others  that  desired  to  follow  Him,  to 
forsake  their  own  will  and  to  take  the  cross  of  penance,  and 
follow  Him,  saying:  If  any  man  will  come  after  me,  let  him 
deny  himself,  and  take  up  his  cross,  and  follow  me.  There 
fore,  all  things  searched  and  read,  be  this  the  final  conclu 
sion,  that  by  many  tribulations  it  behoveth  us  to  enter  into 
the  kingdom  of  heaven. 

To  the  which  bring  us  our  Lord  Jesu.  Amen. 






WILL  hear,  saith  a  devout  soul,  what  God 
the  Lord  will  speak.  Blessed  is  that  man  who 
heareth  Jesus  speaking  in  his  soul,  and  that 
taketh  of  His  mouth  some  word  of  comfort. 
Blessed  be  the  ears  that  hear  the  secret  breath 
ings  of  Jesus,  and  heed  not  the  deceitful  whis 
perings  of  this  world.  And  blessed  indeed  be 
the  ears  that  heed  not  the  outward  speech,  but 
rather  take  heed  what  God  speaketh  and  teach- 
eth  inwardly  in  the  soul.  Blessed  also  be  the 
eyes  that  be  shut  from  the  sight  of  outward 
vanities,  and  that  take  heed  of  the  inward 
movings  of  God.  Blessed  be  they  that 
get  themselves  virtues,  and  prepare 
themselves  by  good  bodily  and  ghostly 
works  to  receive  daily  more  and  more 

the  secret  inspirations  and  inward  teachings  of  God.  Also/ 
blessed  be  they  that  set  themselves  wholly  to  serve  God/ 
and  for  His  service  set  apart  all  lettings  of  the  world.  O  thou 
my  soul !  take  heed  to  that  which  has  been  said,  and  shut  the 
doors  of  thy  sensuality/  which  are  thy  five  wits/  that  thou 
mayest  hear  inwardly  what  our  Lord  Jesus  speaketh  in  thy 

Thus  saith  thy  Beloved :  I  am  thy  health/ 1  am  thy  peace, 
I  am  thy  life;  keep  thee  with  Me/  and  thou  shalt  find  peace 
in  Me.  Forsake  the  love  of  transitory  things/  and  seek  things 
that  be  everlasting.  What  be  all  temporal  things  but  deceiv- 
able?  And  what  may  any  creature  help  thee/  if  thy  Lord 
Jesus  forsake  thee?  Therefore/  all  creatures  and  all  worldly 
things  forsaken  and  left/  do  that  in  thee  is/  to  make  thee 
pleasant  in  His  sight/  that  after  this  life  thou  mayest  come 
to  the  life  everlasting  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  Amen. 



SPEAK/  Lord;  for  thy  servant  heareth.  I  am  thy  servant; 
give  me  understanding/  that  I  may  know  thy  testi 
monies.  Bow  my  heart  to  follow  the  words  of  Thy  holy 
teachings/  that  they  may  distil  into  my  soul  as  dew  into  the 
grass.  The  children  of  Israel  said  to  Moses :  Speak  thou  with 
us/  and  we  will  hear:  but  let  not  God  speak  with  us/  lest  we 
die.  Not  so/  Lord/  not  so/  I  beseech  Thee/  but  rather  I  ask 
meekly  with  Samuel  the  Prophet  that  Thou  vouchsafe  to 
speak  to  me  Thyself/  and  I  shall  gladly  hear  Thee.  Let  not 
Moses/  or  any  other  of  the  Prophets/  speak  to  me/  but  rather 
Thou/  Lord/ Who  art  the  inward  inspirer  and  giver  of  light 
to  all  Prophets;  for  Thou  alone  without  them  mayest  fully 
inform  and  instruct  me.  They  without  Thee  may  little  profit 
me.  They  speak  Thy  words,  but  they  give  not  the  spirit  to 
understand  the  words.  They  speak  fair/  but  if  Thou  be  still, 


they  kindle  not  the  heart.  They  shew  fair  letters,  but  Thou 
declarest  the  sentence.  They  bring  forth  great  high  mys 
teries,  but  Thou  openest  thereof  the  true  understanding; 
they  declare  Thy  commandments,  but  Thou  helpest  to  per 
form  them.  They  shew  the  way,  but  Thou  givest  comfort 
to  walk  therein.  They  do  all  outwardly,  but  Thou  illuminest 
and  informest  the  heart  within.  They  water  only  outwardly, 
but  it  is  Thou  that  givest  the  inward  growing.  They  cry  all 
in  words,  but  Thou  givest  to  the  hearers  understanding  of 
the  words  that  be  hard. 

Let  not  Moses,  therefore,  speak  to  me,  but  Thou,  my 
Lord  Jesu,Who  art  the  everlasting  Truth,  lest  haply  I  die 
and  be  made  as  a  man  without  fruit,  warmed  outwardly,  but 
not  inflamed  inwardly/  and  so  to  have  the  harder  judgment, 
for  that  I  have  heard  Thy  word,  and  not  done  it;  known  it, 
and  not  loved  it;  believed  it,  and  not  fulfilled  it.  Speak, 
therefore,  to  me  Thyself,  for  I  Thy  servant  am  ready  to  hear 
Thee.  Thou  hast  the  words  of  eternal  life;  speak  then  to  me 
to  the  full  comfort  of  my  soul,  and  give  me  amendment  of 
all  my  life  past;  to  Thy  joy,  honour,  and  glory  everlastingly. 


MY  SON,  saith  our  Lord,  hear  My  words  and  follow 
them,  for  they  be  most  sweet,  far  passing  the  wisdom 
and  cunning  of  all  philosophers  and  wise  men  of  the 
world.  My  words  be  spiritual  and  ghostly,  and  cannot  be 
fully  comprehended  by  man's  wit.  Neither  are  they  to  be 
turned  or  applied  to  the  vain  pleasure  of  the  hearer,  but 
are  to  be  heard  in  silence  with  great  meekness,  and  with 
great  inward  affection  of  the  heart;  as  also  in  great  rest  and 
quietness  of  body  and  soul.  O  blessed  is  he,  Lord,  whom 


Thou  informest  and  teachest,  so  that  Thou  mayest  be  meek 
and  merciful  unto  him  in  the  evil  day,  that  is  to  say,  in  the 
day  of  the  most  dreadful  judgment/  that  he  be  not  then  left 
desolate  and  comfortless  in  the  land  of  damnation! 

Then  saith  our  Lord  again :  I  have  taught  Prophets  from 
the  beginning,  and  yet  cease  I  not  to  speak  to  every  creature; 
but  many  be  deaf  and  will  not  hear,  and  many  hear  the 
world  more  gladly  than  Me,  and  more  lightly  follow  the 
appetite  of  the  flesh  than  the  pleasure  of  God.  The  world 
promiseth  temporal  things  of  small  value,  and  yet  is  he 
served  with  great  affection:  but  God  promiseth  high  things, 
and  things  eternal,  and  the  hearts  of  the  people  be  slow  and 
dull.  O  who  serveth  and  obeyeth  God  in  all  things  with  so 
great  a  desire  as  he  doth  the  world,  and  as  worldly  princes 
be  served  and  obeyed?  I  trow,  none.  Why  is  this?  For  a  little 
prebend  great  journeys  be  taken;  but  for  the  life  everlasting 
the  people  will  scarcely  lift  their  feet  once  from  the  ground. 
A  thing  that  is  of  small  price  many  times  is  busily  sought, 
and  for  a  penny  there  is  sometimes  great  strife;  for  the 
promise  of  a  little  worldly  profit  men  eschew  not  to  swink 
and  sweat  both  day  and  night. 

But,  alas  for  sorrow !  for  the  goods  everlasting,  and  for  the 
reward  that  may  not  be  esteemed  by  man's  heart,  for  the 
high  honour  and  glory  that  never  shall  have  an  end,  men 
be  slow  to  take  any  manner  of  pain  and  labour.  Be  thou 
therefore  ashamed,  thou  slow  servant  of  God,  that  they  be 
found  more  ready  to  works  of  death  than  thou  art  to  works 
of  life,  and  that  they  joy  more  in  vanity  than  thou  in  truth : 
and  yet  they  be  oft  deceived  in  that  in  which  they  have  most 
trust,  but  My  promise  deceiveth  no  man,  and  leaveth  no 
man  that  trusteth  in  Me  without  some  comfort.  That  I  have 
promised  I  will  perform,  and  that  I  have  said  I  will  fulfil  to 
every  person,  so  that  they  abide  faithfully  in  My  love  and 
dread  unto  the  end;  for  I  am  the  rewarder  of  all  good  men, 
and  a  strong  prover  of  all  devout  souls. 


Write  My  words  therefore  in  thy  heart  diligently,  and  oft 
think  upon  them;  for  they  shall  be  in  time  of  temptation 
much  necessary  unto  thee.  That  thou  understandest  not 
when  thou  readest  it,  thou  shalt  understand  in  the  time  of 
My  visitation.  I  am  wont  to  visit  My  servants  two  manner 
of  ways,  that  is  to  say,  with  temptation  and  with  consolation. 
And  two  lessons  daily  I  read  unto  them,  one  whereby  I  re 
buke  their  vices,  another  whereby  I  stir  them  to  increase 
in  virtues.  He  that  knoweth  My  words  and  despiseth  them, 
hath  that  that  shall  judge  him  in  the  last  day. 


O  Lord  Jesu !  Thou  art  all  my  riches,  and  all  that  I  have, 
I  have  it  of  Thee.  But  what  am  I,  Lord,  that  I  dare  thus  speak 
to  Thee?  I  am  Thy  poorest  servant,  and  a  worm  most  abject, 
more  poor  and  more  despicable  than  I  can  or  dare  say. 
Behold,  Lord,  that  I  am  nought,  that  I  have  nought,  and  of 
myself  I  am  nought  worth;  Thou  alone  art  good,  righteous, 
and  holy;  Thou  orderest  all  things,  Thou  givest  all  things, 
Thou  fulfillest  all  things  with  Thy  goodness,  leaving  only 
the  wretched  sinner  barren  and  void  of  heavenly  comfort. 
Remember  Thy  mercies,  and  fill  my  heart  with  Thy  mani 
fold  graces,  for  Thou  wilt  not  that  Thy  works  in  me  be 
made  in  vain.  How  may  I  bear  the  miseries  of  this  life,  unless 
Thy  grace  and  mercy  do  comfort  me  therein?  Turn  not  Thy 
face  from  me;  defer  not  Thy  visitings  of  me;  nor  withdraw 
not  Thy  comforts  from  me,  lest  haply  my  soul  be  made  as 
dry  earth  without  the  water  of  grace,  and  as  it  were  a  thing 
unprofitable  to  Thee.  Teach  me,  Lord,  to  fulfil  Thy  will, 
and  to  live  meekly  and  worthily  before  Thee;  for  Thou  art 
all  my  wisdom  and  cunning.  Thou  art  He  that  knowest  me 
as  I  am,  and  that  knewest  me  before  the  world  was  made, 
and  before  that  I  was  born  or  brought  into  this  life. 



[ Y  s  o  N ,  saith  our  Lord  Jesus,  walk  before  Me  in  truth, 
and  seek  Me  always  in  simpleness  and  plainness  of 
heart.  He  that  walketh  in  truth  shall  be  defended 
from  all  perils  and  dangers,  and  truth  shall  deliver  him  from 
all  deceivers,  and  from  all  evil  sayings  of  wicked  people.  If 
truth  deliver  thee  thou  art  very  free,  and  thou  shalt  little 
care  for  the  vain  sayings  of  the  people. 

Lord !  it  is  true  all  Thou  sayest;  be  it  done  to  me  after  Thy 
saying.  I  beseech  Thee  that  Thy  truth  may  teach  me  and 
keep  me,  and  finally  lead  me  to  a  blessed  ending;  that  it 
may  deliver  me  from  all  evil  affections,  and  from  all  inordi 
nate  love,  that  I  may  walk  with  Thee  in  freedom  of  spirit 
and  liberty  of  heart.  Then  Truth  saith  again :  I  shall  teach 
thee  what  is  acceptable  and  liking  to  Me.  Think  on  thy  sins 
past  with  great  displeasure  and  sorrow  of  heart,  and  never 
think  thyself  worthy  to  be  called  holy  or  virtuous  for  any 
good  deeds  that  thou  hast  done,  but  think  how  great  a  sinner 
thou  art,  belapped  and  bound  with  great  and  manifold  sins 
and  passions;  that  of  thyself  thou  drawest  to  nought,  soon 
fallest,  soon  art  overcome,  soon  art  troubled,  and  soon  art 
broken  with  labour  and  pain.  Thou  hast  nothing  whereof 
thou  mayest  righteously  glorify  thyself,  but  many  things 
thou  hast  wherefor  thou  oughtest  to  despise  thyself;  for 
thou  art  more  unstable  and  more  weak  to  ghostly  works 
than  thou  knowest  or  mayest  think. 

Let  nothing  therefore  seem  great  to  thee,  nothing  precious, 
nothing  worthy  any  reputation,  nor  worthy  to  be  praised 
in  thy  sight,  but  that  is  everlasting.  Let  the  everlasting  truth 
be  most  liking  and  most  pleasant  to  thee  above  all  other 
things,  and  that  thine  own  sin  and  vileness  be  most  mislik- 
ing  and  most  displeasing  to  thee.  Dread  nothing  so  much, 
reprove  nothing  so  much,  let  nothing  be  to  thee  so  hateful, 
and  flee  nothing  so  much  as  thy  sins  and  wickedness ;  for  they 

should  more  displease  thee  than  should  the  loss  of  all  worldly 
things.  Some  there  be  that  walk  not  purely  before  Me,  for 
they  through  pride  and  curiosity  desire  to  search  and  know 
high  things  of  My  Godhead,  forgetting  themselves  and  the 
health  of  their  own  souls.  Such  persons  fall  ofttimes  into 
great  temptations  and  grievous  sins  by  their  pride  and  curi 
osity,  for  the  which  I  am  turned  against  them  and  leave 
them  to  themselves  without  help  and  counsel  of  Me. 

Dread,  therefore,  the  judgments  of  God,  and  the  wrath 
of  Him  that  is  Almighty,  and  discuss  not,  nor  search  His 
secrets;  but  search  well  thine  own  iniquities,  how  oft  and 
how  grievously  thou  hast  offended  Him,  and  how  many 
good  deeds  thou  hast  negligently  omitted  and  left  undone, 
which  thou  mightest  well  have  done.  Some  persons  bear 
their  devotion  in  books,  some  in  images,  some  in  outward 
tokens  and  figures/  some  have  Me  in  their  mouth,  but  little 
in  their  hearts.  But  some  there  be  that  have  their  reason 
clearly  illumined  with  the  light  of  true  understanding, 
whereby  their  affection  is  so  purged  and  purified  from  love 
of  earthly  things,  that  they  may  always  covet  and  desire 
heavenly  things;  insomuch  as  it  is  grievous  to  them  to  hear 
of  earthly  likings,  and  it  is  to  them  also  a  right  great  pain  to 
serve  the  necessities  of  the  body,  and  they  think  all  the  time 
as  lost  wherein  they  go  about  it.  Such  persons  feel  and  know 
well  what  the  spirit  of  truth  speaketh  in  their  souls,  for  it 
teacheth  them  to  despise  earthly  things,  and  to  love  heavenly 
things;  to  forsake  the  world  that  is  transitory,  and  to  desire, 
both  day  and  night,  to  come  thither  where  is  joy  everlasting. 
To  the  which  bring  us,  our  Lord  Jesu!  Amen. 


BLESSED  be  Thou,  heavenly  Father,  the  Father  of  my 
Lord  Jesus  Christ,  for  Thou  hast  vouchsafed  to  remem 
ber  me  Thy  poorest  servant;  and  sometimes  dost  com 
fort  me  with  Thy  gracious  presence,  that  am  unworthy  all 

comfort.  I  bless  Thee  and  glorify  Thee  always  with  Thy 
only-begotten  Son,  and  the  Holy  Ghost,  without  ending. 

O  my  Lord  God,  most  faithful  lover,  when  Thou  comest 
into  my  heart,  all  mine  inward  parts  do  joy.  Thou  art  my 
glory,  and  the  joy  of  my  heart,  my  hope  and  whole  refuge  in 
all  my  troubles.  But  forasmuch  as  I  am  yet  feeble  in  love 
and  unperfect  in  virtue;  therefore  I  have  need  of  more  com 
fort  and  help  of  Thee.  Vouchsafe,  therefore,  ofttimes  to  visit 
and  instruct  me  with  Thy  holy  teachings.  Deliver  me  from 
all  evil  passions,  and  heal  my  sick  heart  from  all  inordinate 
affections,  that  I  may  be  inwardly  healed  and  purged  from 
all  inordinate  affections  and  vices,  and  be  made  apt  and  able 
to  love  Thee,  strong  to  suffer  for  Thee,  and  stable  to  per 
severe  in  Thee. 

Love  is  a  great  thing  and  a  good,  and  alone  maketh  heavy 
burdens  light,  and  beareth  in  like  balance  things  pleasant 
and  unpleasant;  it  beareth  a  heavy  burden  and  feeleth  it  not, 
and  maketh  bitter  things  to  be  savoury  and  sweet.  The  noble 
love  of  Jesus  perfectly  printed  in  the  soul  maketh  a  man  to 
do  great  things,  and  stirreth  him  always  to  desire  perfection, 
growing  more  and  more  in  grace  and  goodness.  Love  will 
always  have  his  mind  upward  to  God,  and  will  not  be  occu 
pied  with  love  of  the  world.  Love  will  also  be  free  from  all 
worldly  affections,  that  the  inward  sight  of  the  soul  be  not 
darked  or  let,  nor  that  his  affection  to  heavenly  things  be 
put  from  his  free  liberty  by  inordinate  winning  or  losing  of 
worldly  things.  Nothing,  therefore,  is  more  sweet  than  love, 
nothing  higher,  nothing  stronger,  nothing  larger,  nothing 
more  joyful,  nothing  fuller,  nor  anything  better  in  heaven 
or  in  earth;  for  love  descendeth  from  God,  and  may  not  rest 
finally  in  anything  lower  than  God. 

Such  a  lover  flieth  high,  he  runneth  swiftly,  he  is  merry 
in  God,  he  is  free  in  soul,  he  giveth  all  for  all,  and  hath  all 
in  all;  for  he  resteth  in  one  high  Goodness  above  all  things, 

of  Whom  all  goodness  floweth  and  proceedeth.  He  behold- 
eth  not  only  the  gift,  but  the  Giver  above  all  gifts.  Love 
knoweth  no  measure,  but  is  fervent  without  measure.  He 
feeleth  no  burden,  he  regardeth  no  labour,  he  desireth  more 
than  he  may  attain,  he  complaineth  of  no  impossibility;  for 
he  thinketh  all  things  that  may  be  done  for  his  Beloved, 
possible  and  lawful  unto  him.  Love,  therefore,  doth  many 
great  things,  and  bringeth  them  to  effect,  wherein  he  that 
is  no  lover  fainteth  and  faileth. 

Love  waketh  much  and  sleepeth  little,  and  sleeping  sleep- 
eth  not;  he  fainteth  and  is  not  weary;  is  restrained  of  liberty, 
and  is  in  great  freedom.  He  seeth  causes  of  fear  and  feareth 
not,  but  as  a  quick  brand  or  sparkle  of  fire  flameth  always 
upward  by  fervour  of  love  unto  God,  and  through  the 
especial  help  of  grace  is  delivered  from  all  perils  and  dangers. 
He  that  is  thus  a  ghostly  lover  knoweth  well  what  his  voice 
meaneth,  which  sayeth  thus :  Thou,  Lord  God,  art  my  whole 
love  and  my  desire,Thou  art  all  mine,  and  I  all  Thine. 

Spread  Thou  my  heart  into  Thy  love,  that  I  may  taste 
and  feel  how  sweet  it  is  to  serve  Thee,  and  how  joyful  it  is 
to  laud  Thee,  and  to  be  as  I  were  all  molten  into  Thy  love. 
O  I  am  bounden  in  love,  and  go  far  above  myself;  for  the 
wonderful  great  fervour  that  I  feel  of  Thy  unspeakable 
goodness !  I  shall  sing  to  Thee  the  song  of  love,  and  I  shall 
follow  Thee,  my  Beloved,  by  highness  of  thought,  where 
soever  Thou  go;  and  my  soul  shall  never  be  weary  to  praise 
Thee  with  the  joyful  song  of  ghostly  love  that  I  shall  sing 
to  Thee.  I  shall  love  Thee  more  than  myself,  and  not  myself 
but  for  Thee,  and  all  other  in  Thee  and  for  Thee,  as  the 
law  of  love  commandeth,  which  is  given  by  Thee.  Love  is 
swift,  pure,  meek,  joyous  and  glad,  strong,  patient,  faithful, 
wise,  forbearing,  manly,  and  never  seeking  himself  or  his 
own  will;  for  whensoever  a  man  seeketh  himself,  he  faileth 
from  love.  Also,  love  is  circumspect,  meek,  righteous;  not 
tender,  not  light,  nor  heeding  vain  things;  sober,  chaste 


stable,  quiet,  and  well  stabled  in  his  outward  wits.  Love  is 
subject  and  obedient  to  his  prelate,  vile  and  despicable  in 
his  own  sight,  devout  and  thankful  to  God,  trusting  and 
always  hoping  in  Him,  and  that  when  he  hath  but  little 
devotion  or  little  savour  in  him;  for  without  some  sorrow 
or  pain  no  man  may  live  in  love. 

He  that  is  not  always  ready  to  suffer,  and  to  stand  fully 
at  the  will  of  his  Beloved,  is  not  worthy  to  be  called  a  lover, 
for  it  behoveth  a  lover  to  suffer  gladly  all  hard  and  bitter 
things  for  his  Beloved,  and  not  to  decline  from  his  love  for 
any  contrarious  thing  that  may  befall  unto  him. 


MY  SON,  saith  our  Saviour  Christ,  thou  art  not  yet  a 
strong  and  a  wise  lover.  Why,  Lord? 
For  a  little  adversity  thou  leavest  anon  that  thou 
hast  begun  in  My  service,  and  with  great  desire  thou  seekest 
outward  consolations.  But  a  strong  and  faithful  lover  of 
God  standeth  stable  in  all  adversities,  and  giveth  little  heed 
to  the  deceitful  persuasions  of  the  enemy,  and  as  I  please 
him  in  prosperity,  so  I  displease  him  not  in  adversity. 

A  wise  lover  considereth  not  so  much  the  gift  of  his  lover 
as  he  doth  the  love  of  the  giver.  He  regardeth  more  the  love 
than  the  gift,  and  accounteth  all  gifts  little  in  comparison  of 
his  Beloved,  who  giveth  them  to  him.  A  noble  lover  resteth 
not  in  the  gift,  but  in  Me  above  all  gifts.  Furthermore,  it  is 
not  all  lost,  though  thou  sometimes  feel  less  devotion  to  Me 
and  to  My  Saints  than  thou  wouldst  do.  And  on  the  other 
side,  the  sweet  ghostly  desire  that  thou  feelest  sometimes  to 
thy  Lord  Jesus  is  the  feelable  gift  of  grace  given  to  thy  com 
fort  in  this  life,  and  a  taste  of  the  heavenly  glory  in  the  life 
to  come;  but  it  is  not  good  that  thou  lean  overmuch  to  such 
comforts,  for  they  lightly  come  and  go  after  the  will  of  the 


But  to  strive  always  without  ceasing  against  all  evil  mo 
tions  of  sin,  and  to  despise  all  the  suggestions  of  the  enemy, 
is  a  token  of  perfect  love,  and  of  great  merit  and  singular 

Let  no  vanities  or  any  strange  fantasies  trouble  thee,  of 
what  matter  soever  they  be.  Keep  thine  intent  and  thy  pur 
pose  always  whole  and  strong  to  Me,  and  think  not  that  it 
is  an  illusion,  that  thou  art  suddenly  ravished  into  excess  of 
mind,  and  that  thou  art  soon  after  turned  again  to  thy  first 
lightness  of  heart;  for  thou  sufferest  such  lightness  rather 
against  thy  will  than  with  thy  will,  and,  therefore,  if  thou 
be  displeased  therewith,  it  shall  be  to  thee  great  merit  and 
no  perdition. 

Know  that  the  old  ancient  enemy,  the  fiend,  will  essay  to 
hinder  thy  good  will,  and  to  extinguish  the  good  desire  that 
thou  hast  to  Me,  and  he  will  also  hinder  thee  from  all  good 
works  and  devout  exercises  if  he  may;  that  is  to  say,  from 
the  honour  and  worship  that  thou  art  bound  to  give  to  Me, 
and  to  My  Saints,  from  mind  of  My  Passion,  from  the 
remembrance  of  thine  own  sins,  from  the  diligent  keeping 
of  thy  heart  in  good  meditations,  and  from  a  steadfast  pur 
pose  to  profit  in  virtue.  He  will  also  put  into  thy  mind  many 
idle  thoughts,  to  make  thee  irk  and  soon  weary  of  prayer  and 
holy  reading.  A  meek  confession  displeaseth  him  much,  and 
if  he  can,  he  will  so  hinder  a  man  that  he  shall  not  be 
houseled.  Believe  him  not,  and  care  not  for  him,  though  he 
assail  thee  ever  so  much.  Make  all  his  malice  return  to  him 
self  again,  and  say  to  him  thus :  Go  from  me,  thou  wicked 
spirit,  and  be  thou  ashamed,  for  thou  art  foul  and  ugly,  that 
wouldst  bring  such  things  into  my  mind.  Go  from  me,  thou 
false  deceiver  of  mankind,  thou  shalt  have  no  part  in  me; 
for  my  Saviour  Jesus  standeth  by  me  as  a  mighty  warrior 
and  a  strong  champion,  and  thou  shalt  fly  away  to  thy  con 

I  had  liefer  suffer  the  most  cruel  death  than  to  consent  to 

thy  malicious  stirrings.  Be  still,  therefore,  thou  cursed  fiend, 
and  cease  thy  malice,  for  I  shall  never  assent  to  thee,  though 
thou  vex  me  ever  so  much.  The  Lord  is  my  light  and  my 
salvation;  whom  shall  I  fear?  The  Lord  is  the  strength  of 
my  life;  of  whom  shall  I  be  afraid?  Though  an  host  should 
encamp  against  me,  my  heart  shall  not  fear.  Why?  God  is 
my  Helper  and  my  Redeemer! 

Always  then,  saith  our  Lord  again  to  such  a  soul,  strive 
as  a  true  knight  against  all  the  stirrings  of  the  enemy.  And 
if  sometimes  through  thy  frailty  thou  be  overcome,  rise  soon 
again,  and  take  more  strength  than  thou  hadst  first,  and 
trust  verily  to  have  more  grace  and  more  comfort  of  God 
than  thou  hadst  before.  But  beware  always  of  vain-glory 
and  pride,  for  thereby  many  persons  have  fallen  into  great 
errors,  and  into  great  blindness  of  soul,  so  far  that  it  hath 
been  right  nigh  incurable.  Let,  therefore,  the  fall  and  ruin 
of  such  proud  folks  as  have  foolishly  presumed  of  them 
selves,  and  have  in  the  end  perished  by  their  presumption, 
be  to  thee  a  great  example,  and  a  matter  of  perpetual 

7.    HOW   GRACE   IS    TO    BE    KEPT    CLOSE   THROUGH   THE 

MY  s  o  N  ,  it  is  much  more  expedient,  and  a  surer  way  for 
thee,  that  thou  hide  the  grace  of  devotion  and  speak 
not  much  of  it,  or  regard  it  much,  but  rather  to  despise 
thyself  the  more  for  it,  and  to  think  thyself  unworthy 
any  such  gracious  gift  of  God.  And  it  is  not  good  to  cleave 
much  to  such  affections  as  may  be  soon  turned  into  the 

When  thou  hast  the  grace  of  devotion,  consider  how 
wretched  and  needy  thou  wert  wont  to  be,  when  thou  hadst 
no  such  grace.  The  profit  and  increase  of  life  spiritual  is  not 

only  when  thou  hast  devotion,  but  rather  when  thou  canst 
meekly  and  patiently  bear  the  withdrawing  and  absenting 
thereof;  so  as  not  then  to  leave  off  thy  prayers,  and  leave 
undone  the  other  good  deeds  that  thou  art  accustomed  to 
do.  But  that  to  thy  power,  and  so  far  as  in  thee  is,  thou  dost 
thy  best  therein,  and  forgettest  not  thy  duty,  and  art  not 
negligent,  for  any  dulness  or  unquietness  of  mind  that  thou 

Nevertheless,  there  be  many  persons  that  when  any  ad 
versity  falleth  to  them,  they  be  anon  unpatient,  and  made 
thereby  very  slow  and  dull  to  do  any  good  deed,  thus  hinder 
ing  themselves  greatly.  For  it  is  not  in  the  power  of  man, 
the  way  that  he  shall  take;  but  it  is  only  in  the  grace  of  God 
to  dispose  this  after  His  will;  to  send  comfort  when  He  will, 
as  much  as  He  will,  to  whom  He  will,  and  not  otherwise  than 
it  shall  please  Him. 

Some  unwary  persons,  through  an  indiscreet  desire  that 
they  have  had  to  have  the  grace  of  devotion,  have  destroyed 
themselves;  for  they  would  do  more  than  their  power  was 
to  do,  and  not  knowing  the  measure  of  their  gift  or  the  little 
ness  of  their  own  strength,  they  rather  would  follow  the 
pride  of  their  heart,  than  the  judgment  of  reason. 

And  because  they  presumed  to  do  greater  things  than  was 
pleasing  to  God,  therefore  they  lost  anon  the  grace  that  they 
had  before.  They  were  left  needy  and  without  comfort,  who 
thought  to  have  builded  their  nests  in  heaven,  and  so  were 
taught  not  to  presume  of  themselves,  but  meekly  to  trust  in 
God  and  in  His  goodness. 

Such  persons  also  as  be  beginners,  and  lack  yet  experi 
ence  in  ghostly  travail,  may  lightly  err  and  be  deceived, 
unless  they  will  be  ruled  by  counsel  of  others.  And  if  they 
will  needly  follow  their  own  counsel,  and  will  in  nowise  be 
removed  from  their  own  will,  it  will  be  very  perilous  to  them 
in  the  end.  They  that  be  wise  and  cunning  in  their  own  sight, 
will  seldom  be  meekly  ruled  or  ordered  by  other.  It  is  better 


to  have  little  cunning  with  meekness,  than  great  cunning 
with  vain  liking  therein;  and  it  is  better  to  have  little  cun 
ning  with  grace,  than  much  cunning  whereof  thou  shouldst 
be  proud.  Also,  he  doth  not  discreetly,  that  in  time  of  devo 
tion  setteth  himself  also  to  spiritual  mirth,  and  as  it  were  to 
a  heavenly  gladness,  forgetting  his  former  desolation  and 
the  meek  dread  of  God.  Neither  doth  he  well  or  virtuously, 
who  in  time  of  trouble,  and  in  any  manner  of  adversity, 
beareth  himself  desperately,  and  doth  not  feel  or  think  so 
faithfully  of  Me  as  he  ought  to  do. 

He  that  in  time  of  peace  and  ghostly  comfort  will  think 
himself  overmuch  sure,  commonly  in  time  of  battle  and  of 
temptation  shall  be  found  over  much  deject  and  fearful. 
But  if  thou  couldst  always  abide  meek  and  little  in  thine 
own  sight,  and  couldst  order  well  the  motions  of  thine  own 
soul,  thou  wouldst  not  so  soon  fall  into  presumption  or 
despair,  or  so  lightly  offend  Almighty  God.  Wherefore,  this 
is  good  and  wholesome  counsel,  that  when  thou  hast  the 
spirit  of  fervour,  thou  think  how  thou  shalt  do  when  that 
fervour  is  past. 

And  when  it  happeneth  so  with  thee,  that  thou  then  think 
the  light  may  soon  come  again,  which  to  My  honour  and 
thy  proving  I  have  withdrawn  for  a  time. 

It  is  more  profitable  to  thee  that  thou  shouldst  be  so 
proved,  than  that  thou  shouldst  always  have  prosperous 
things  after  thy  will.  Merits  are  not  to  be  thought  great  in 
any  person,  because  he  hath  many  visions,  or  many  ghostly 
comforts,  or  that  he  hath  clear  understanding  of  Scripture, 
or  that  he  is  set  in  high  degree.  But  if  he  be  stably  grounded 
in  meekness  and  fulfilled  with  charity;  if  he  seek  wholly 
the  worship  of  God  and  in  nothing  regardeth  himself;  if 
fully  in  his  heart  he  can  despise  himself,  and  also  coveteth 
to  be  despised  of  others,  then  may  he  have  good  trust,  that 
he  hath  somewhat  profited  in  grace,  and  that  he  shall  in  the 
end  have  great  reward  of  God  for  his  good  travail.  Amen. 



SHALL  I,  Lord  Jesu,  dare  speak  to  Thee,  that  am  but 
dust  and  ashes?  Verily,  if  I  think  myself  any  better  than 
ashes  and  dust, Thou  standest  against  me;  and  mine 
own  sins  also  bear  witness  against  me,  that  I  may  not  withsay 
it.  But  if  I  despise  myself  and  set  myself  at  nought,  and  think 
myself  but  ashes  and  dust  as  I  am;  then  Thy  grace  shall  be 
nigh  unto  me  and  the  light  of  true  understanding  shall  enter 
into  my  heart,  so  that  all  presumption  and  pride  in  me  shall 
be  drowned  in  the  vale  of  meekness,  through  perfect  know 
ing  of  my  wretchedness.  Through  meekness  Thou  shalt 
show  unto  me  what  I  am,  what  I  have  been,  and  from  whence 
I  came;  for  I  am  nought,  and  knew  it  not.  If  I  be  left  to 
myself,  then  am  I  nought,  and  all  is  feebleness  and  imper 
fection.  But  if  Thou  vouchsafe  a  little  to  behold  me,  anon 
I  am  made  strong  and  am  filled  with  a  new  joy,  and  marvel 
it  is  that  I,  wretch,  am  so  soon  lifted  up  from  my  unstable- 
ness  into  the  beholding  of  heavenly  things,  and  that  I  am 
so  lovingly  lifted  up  by  Thee,  that  of  myself  fall  down  always 
to  earthly  things. 

But  Thy  love,  Lord,  causeth  all  this,  which  preventeth 
me,  and  helpeth  me  in  all  my  necessities,  and  keepeth  me 
warily  from  all  perils  and  dangers,  that  I  daily  am  like  to 
fall  into.  I  have  lost  Thee  and  also  myself  by  inordinate 
love  that  I  have  had  to  myself,  and  in  seeking  of  Thee  again 
I  have  found  both  Thee  and  me;  therefore  I  will  more  deeply 
from  henceforth  set  myself  at  nought,  and  more  diligently 
seek  Thee  than  in  times  past  I  have  done;  for  Thou,  Lord 
Jesu,  Thou  dost  to  me  above  all  my  merits,  and  above  all 
that  I  can  ask  or  desire. 

But  blessed  be  Thou  in  all  Thy  works,  for  though  I  be 
unworthy  any  good  things,  yet  Thy  goodness  never  ceaseth 
to  do  well  to  me,  and  also  to  many  others,  that  be  unkind 
to  Thee,  and  are  turned  right  far  from  Thee.  Turn  us,  Lord, 


to  Thee  again,  that  we  may  henceforward  be  loving  and 
thankf til,  meek  and  devout  to  Thee,  for  Thou  art  our  health, 
Thou  art  our  virtue,  and  all  our  strength  in  body  and  soul, 
and  none  but  Thou. 

To  thee  therefore  be  joy  and  glory  everlastingly  in  the 
bliss  of  heaven.  Amen. 


MY  SON,  saith  our  Saviour  Christ,  I  must  be  the  end  of 
all  thy  works,  if  thou  desire  to  be  happy  and  blessed; 
and  if  thou  refer  all  goodness  to  Me,  from  Whom  all 
goodness  cometh,  then  shall  be  purged  and  made  clean  in 
thee  thine  inward  affections,  which  else  would  be  evil  in 
clined  to  thyself  and  to  other  creatures.  If  thou  seek  thyself 
in  anything  as  the  end  of  thy  work,  anon  thou  failest  in  thy 
doing,  and  waxest  dry  and  barren  from  all  moisture  of  grace. 
Wherefore,  thou  must  refer  all  things  to  Me,  for  I  give  all. 
Behold,  therefore,  all  things  as  they  be,  flowing  and  spring 
ing  out  of  My  sovereign  goodness,  and  reduce  all  things  to 
Me  as  to  their  original  beginning;  for  of  Me  both  small 
and  great,  poor  and  rich,  as  of  a  quick-springing  well,  draw 
water  of  life. 

He  that  serveth  Me  freely  and  with  good  will  shall  receive 
grace  for  grace.  But  he  that  will  glorify  himself  in  himself, 
or  wilfully  joy  in  anything  beside  Me,  shall  not  be  stab- 
lished  in  perfect  joy,  or  be  dilated  in  soul;  but  he  shall  be 
letted  and  anguished  many  ways  from  the  true  freedom  of 
spirit.  Thou  shalt  therefore  ascribe  no  goodness  to  thyself, 
nor  shalt  thou  think  that  any  person  hath  any  goodness  of 
himself;  but  yield  thou  always  the  goodness  to  Me,  without 
Whom  man  hath  nothing.  I  have  given  all,  and  all  will  I 
have  again,  and  with  great  straitness  will  I  look  to  have 
thankings  therefor. 

This  is  the  truth  whereby  is  driven  away  all  manner  of 


vain-glory  and  pride  of  heart.  If  heavenly  grace  and  perfect 
charity  enter  into  thy  heart,  then  shall  there  be  no  envy  nor 
unquietness  of  mind,  neither  shall  any  private  love  have  rule 
in  thee.  For  the  charity  of  God  shall  overcome  all  things,  and 
shall  dilate  and  inflame  all  the  powers  of  thy  soul.  Where 
fore,  if  thou  understandest  aright,  thou  shalt  never  joy  but 
in  Me,  and  in  Me  only  thou  shalt  have  full  trust,  for  no  man 
is  good  but  God  alone,Who  is  above  all  things  to  be  hon 
oured,  and  in  all  things  to  be  blessed. 



NOW  shall  I  speak  again  to  Thee,  my  Lord  Jesu,  and  not 
cease.  And  I  shall  say  in  the  ears  of  my  Lord,  my  God 
and  King  that  is  in  heaven,  Oh  how  great  is  thy  good 
ness,  which  thou  hast  laid  up  for  them  that  fear  thee!  But 
what  is  it  then  to  them  that  love  Thee,  and  that  with  all  their 
heart  do  serve  Thee?  Verily,  it  is  the  unspeakable  sweetness 
of  contemplation,  that  Thou  givest  to  them  that  love  Thee. 
In  this,  Lord,  Thou  hast  most  shewed  the  sweetness  of  Thy 
charity  to  me,  that  when  I  was  not,  Thou  madest  me,  and 
when  I  erred  far  from  Thee,  Thou  broughtest  me  again  to 
serve  Thee,  and  Thou  commandest  me  also  that  I  shall  love 

O  Fountain  of  love  everlasting !  what  shall  I  say  of  Thee? 
How  may  I  forget  Thee,  that  hast  vouchsafed  so  lovingly  to 
remember  me?  When  I  was  like  to  have  perished, Thou 
shewedst  Thy  mercy  to  me  above  all  that  I  could  think  and 
desire,  and  hast  sent  me  of  Thy  grace  and  love  above  my 
merits.  But  what  shall  I  give  Thee  again  for  all  this  goodness? 
It  is  not  given  to  all  men  to  forsake  the  world,  and  to  take  a 
solitary  life,  and  only  to  serve  Thee.  Yet  it  is  no  great  thing 
to  serve  Thee,  Whom  every  creature  is  bound  to  serve.  It 
ought  not  therefore  to  seem  any  great  thing  to  me  to  serve 


Thee,  but  rather  it  should  seem  marvel  and  wonder  to  me, 
that  Thou  wilt  vouchsafe  to  receive  so  poor  and  so  unworthy 
a  creature  as  I  am  into  Thy  service,  and  that  Thou  wilt  join 
me  to  Thy  well-beloved  servants. 

Lo!  Lord,  all  things  that  I  have,  and  all  that  I  do  Thee 
service  with,  is  Thine;  and  yet  Thy  goodness  is  such  that 
Thou  rather  servest  me  than  I  thee.  For  lo,  heaven  and  earth, 
planets  and  stars  with  their  contents,  which  Thou  hast 
created  to  serve  man,  be  ready  at  Thy  bidding,  and  do  daily 
that  Thou  hast  commanded.  And  Thou  hast  also  ordained 
Angels  to  the  ministry  of  man.  But  above  all  this  Thou  hast 
vouchsafed  to  serve  man  Thyself,  and  hast  promised  to  give 
Thyself  unto  him. 

What  shall  I  then  give  to  Thee  again  for  this  thousandfold 
goodness? Would  to  God  that  I  might  serve  Thee  all  the 
days  of  my  life,  or  at  least  that  I  might  for  one  day  be  able 
to  do  Thee  faithful  service;  for  Thou  art  worthy  all  honour, 
service,  and  praising  for  ever.  Thou  art  my  Lord  and  my 
God,  and  I  Thy  poorest  servant,  most  bound  before  all 
others  to  love  Thee  and  praise  Thee,  and  I  never  ought  to 
wax  weary  of  the  praising  of  Thee.  This  it  is  that  I  ask,  and 
I  desire,  that  is  to  say,  that  I  may  always  laud  and  praise 

Vouchsafe,  therefore,  most  merciful  Lord,  to  supply  that 
wanteth  in  me,  for  it  is  great  honour  to  serve  Thee,  and  all 
earthly  things  to  despise  for  the  love  of  Thee. 

They  shall  have  great  grace  that  freely  submit  themselves 
to  Thy  holy  service.  And  they  shall  find  also  the  most  sweet 
consolation  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  and  shall  have  great  freedom 
of  spirit,  that  here  forsake  all  worldly  business,  and  choose 
a  hard  and  strait  life  in  this  world  for  Thy  Name. 

O  free  and  joyful  service  of  God,  by  which  a  man  is  made 
free,  holy,  and  also  blessed  in  the  sight  of  God!  O  holy  state 
of  religion,  which  maketh  a  man  like  to  Angels,  pleasant  to 
God,  dreadful  to  wicked  spirits,  and  to  all  faithful  people 


right  highly  commendable !  O  service  much  to  be  embraced, 
and  always  to  be  desired/  by  which  the  high  goodness  is 
won,  and  the  everlasting  joy  and  gladness  is  gotten  without 


|Y  SON,  saith  our  Lord,  it  behoveth  thee  to  learn  many 
things  that  thou  hast  not  yet  well  learned. 
What  be  they,  Lord? 

That  thou  order  thy  desires  and  affections  wholly  after 
My  pleasure,  and  that  thou  be  not  a  lover  of  thyself,  but  a 
desirous  follower  of  My  will  in  all  things.  I  know  well  that 
desires  oft  move  to  this  thing  or  to  that;  but  consider  well 
whether  thou  be  moved  principally  for  Mine  honour,  or 
for  thine  own.  If  I  be  the  cause,  thou  shalt  be  well  contented 
whatsoever  I  do  with  thee;  but  if  anything  remain  in  thy 
heart  of  thine  own  will,  that  is  it  that  letteth  and  hindereth 

Beware,  therefore,  that  thou  lean  not  much  to  thine  own 
desire  without  My  counsel,  lest  haply  it  repent  thee,  and 
displease  thee  in  the  end,  that  which  first  pleased  thee.  Every 
affection  and  desire  of  man's  heart  that  seemeth  good  and 
holy,  is  not  forthwith  to  be  followed,  nor  is  every  contrari- 
ous  affection  or  desire  hastily  to  be  refused.  It  is  sometimes 
right  expedient  that  a  man  refrain  his  affections  and  desires, 
though  they  be  good,  lest  haply  by  his  importunity  he  fall 
into  unquietness  of  mind,  or  that  he  be  a  let  to  others,  or  be 
hindered  by  others,  and  so  fail  in  his  doing. 

Sometimes  it  behoveth  us  to  use,  as  it  were,  a  violence  to 
ourself,  and  strongly  to  resist  and  break  down  our  sensual 
appetite,  and  not  regard  what  the  flesh  will  or  will  not;  but 
always  to  take  heed  that  it  be  made  subject  to  the  will  of  the 
spirit,  and  that  it  be  so  long  chastised  and  compelled  to  serve, 
till  it  be  ready  to  all  things  that  the  soul  commandeth,  and 

till  it  can  learn  to  be  content  with  a  little,  and  can  delight  in 
simple  things,  and  not  murmur  or  grudge  for  any  contrarious 
things  that  may  befall  unto  it. 


OMY  Lord  God,  as  I  hear  say,  patience  is  much  neces 
sary  unto  me,  because  of  many  contrarious  things 
which  in  this  life  daily  chance.  I  see  well  that  howso 
ever  I  do  order  myself  for  peace,  yet  my  life  cannot  be  with 
out  some  battle  and  sorrow. 

My  son,  it  is  true  what  thou  sayest;  wherefore  I  will  not 
that  thou  seek  to  have  such  peace  as  wanteth  temptations,  or 
as  feeleth  not  some  contradiction;  but  that  thou  trow  and 
believe  that  thou  hast  found  peace  when  thou  hast  many 
troubles,  and  art  proved  with  many  contrarious  things  in 
this  world.  And  if  thou  say  thou  mayest  not  suffer  such 
things,  how  shalt  thou  then  suffer  the  fire  of  purgatory?  Of 
two  evils,  the  less  evil  is  to  be  taken.  Suffer,  therefore, 
patiently  the  little  pains  of  this  world,  that  thou  mayest 
hereafter  escape  the  greater  in  the  world  to  come.  Trowest 
thou  that  worldly  men  suffer  little  or  nothing?  Yes,  truly, 
thou  shalt  find  none  without  some  trouble,  though  thou 
seek  the  most  delicate  persons  that  be. 

But  percase  thou  sayest  to  Me  again :  They  have  many 
delectations,  and  follow  their  own  pleasure  so  much,  that 
they  ponder  but  little  all  their  adversities. 

Well,  I  will  it  be  as  thou  sayest,  that  they  have  all  that 
they  can  desire/  but  how  long,  trowest  thou,  that  it  shall 
endure?  Soothly,  it  shall  suddenly  vanish  away  as  smoke 
in  the  air,  so  that  there  shall  not  be  left  any  remembrance 
of  their  joys  past.  And  yet,  when  they  lived  they  were  not 
without  great  bitterness  and  grief;  for  ofttimes  of  the  same 
thing  wherein  they  had  their  greatest  pleasure,  received 


they  afterwards  great  trouble  and  pain.  Righteously  came 
this  unto  them,  that  forasmuch  as  they  sought  delectations 
and  pleasures  inordinately,  they  should  not  fulfil  their  de 
sire  therein  but  with  great  bitterness  and  sorrow. 

O  how  short,  how  false,  and  inordinate  be  all  the  pleas 
ures  of  this  world!  Soothly,  for  drunkenship  and  blindness 
of  heart  worldly  people  perceive  it  not;  but  as  dumb  beasts, 
for  a  little  pleasure  of  this  corruptible  life,  they  run  head 
long  into  everlasting  death.  Therefore,  My  son,  go  not  after 
thy  lusts,  but  turn  away  from  thy  own  will.  Delight  thyself 
also  in  the  Lord,  and  fix  thy  love  strongly  in  Him,  and  he 
shall  "ive  thee  the  desires  of  thine  heart. 


And  if  thou  wilt  have  consolation  abundantly,  and  wilt 
receive  the  soothfast  comfort  that  cometh  of  God,  dispose 
thyself  fully  to  despise  this  world,  and  put  from  thee  wholly 
all  inordinate  delectations,  and  thou  shalt  have  plenteously 
the  comfort  of  God.  And  the  more  that  thou  withdrawest 
thee  from  the  consolation  of  all  creatures,  the  more  sweet 
and  blessed  consolations  shalt  thou  receive  of  thy  Creator. 
But  soothly  thou  canst  not  at  the  first  come  to  such  consola 
tions,  but  with  heaviness  and  labour  going  before.  Thy  old 
custom  will  somewhat  withstand  thee,  but  with  a  better 
custom  it  may  be  overcome.  The  flesh  will  murmur  against 
thee,  but  with  fervour  of  spirit  shall  be  restrained.  The  old 
ancient  enemy,  the  fiend,  will  let  thee  if  he  can,  but  with 
devout  prayer  he  shall  be  driven  away,  and  with  good  bodily 
and  ghostly  labours  his  way  shall  be  stopped,  so  that  he 
shall  not  dare  come  nigh  unto  thee. 


MY  SON,  saith  our  Saviour  Christ,  he  that  laboureth  to 
withdraw  himself  from  obedience,  withdraweth  him 
self  from  grace;  and  he  that  seeketh  to  have  private 
things,  loseth  the  things  that  be  in  common.  If  a  man  cannot 

gladly  submit  himself  to  his  superior,  it  is  a  token  that  his 
flesh  is  not  yet  fully  obedient  to  the  spirit,  but  that  it  oft 
rebelleth  and  murmureth.  Therefore,  if  thou  desire  to  over 
come  thyself,  and  to  make  thy  flesh  obey  meekly  to  the  will 
of  the  spirit,  learn  first  to  obey  gladly  thy  superior.  The 
outward  enemy  is  the  sooner  overcome,  if  the  inner  man, 
that  is,  the  soul,  be  not  feebled  or  wasted.  There  is  no  worse 
or  any  more  grievous  enemy  to  the  soul,  than  thyself,  if 
thy  flesh  be  not  well-agreeing  to  the  will  of  the  spirit.  It 
behoveth  thee,  therefore,  that  thou  have  a  true  despising  and 
contempt  of  thyself,  if  thou  wilt  prevail  against  thy  flesh  and 
blood.  But  forasmuch  as  thou  yet  lovest  thyself  inordinately, 
therefore  thou  fearest  to  resign  thy  will  wholly  to  another 
man's  will. 

But  what  great  thing  is  it  to  thee  that  art  but  dust  and 
nought,  if  thou  subdue  thyself  to  man  for  My  sake,  when 
I,  that  am  Almighty  and  Most  High  God,  Maker  of  all 
things,  subdued  Myself  meekly  to  man  for  thy  sake?  I  made 
Myself  most  meek  and  most  low  of  all  men,  that  thou 
shouldst  learn  to  overcome  thy  pride  through  My  meekness. 
Learn,  therefore,  thou  ashes,  to  be  tractable;  learn,  thou 
earth  and  dust,  to  be  meek,  and  to  bow  thyself  under  every 
man's  foot  for  My  sake;  learn  to  break  thine  own  will,  and 
to  be  subject  to  all  men  in  thine  heart. 

Rise  in  great  wrath  against  thyself,  and  suffer  not  pride 
to  reign  in  thee,  but  show  thyself  so  little  and  obedient,  and 
so  naughty  in  thine  own  sight,  that  all  men  may  righteously, 
as  thou  thinkest,  go  over  thee,  and  tread  upon  thee,  as  upon 
earth  or  clay.  O  vain  man!  of  what  hast  thou  to  complain? 
O  thou  foul  sinner!  what  mayest  thou  righteously  say 
against  them  that  reprove  thee,  sith  thou  hast  so  oft  offended 
God,  and  hast  also  so  oft  deserved  the  pains  of  hell?  But, 
nevertheless,  My  eye  of  mercy  hath  spared  thee,  for  thy 
soul  is  precious  in  My  sight;  that  thou  mightest  thereby 
know  the  great  love  that  I  have  to  thee,  and  be  therefore  the 


more  thankful  to  Me  again,  and  give  thyself  to  perfect  and 
true  subjection  and  meekness,  and  be  ready  in  heart  patiently 
to  suffer  for  My  sake  thine  own  contempts  and  despisings, 
whensoever  they  happen  to  fall  unto  thee.  Amen. 


to,  Thou  soundest  Thy  judgments  terribly  upon  me, 
and  h'llest  my  body  and  bones  with  great  fear  and 
dread;  my  soul  also  trembleth  very  sore,  for  I  am 
greatly  astonied,  for  that  I  see  that  the  heavens  are  not 
clean  in  thy  sight.  Sith  Thou  foundest  default  in  angels,  and 
sparedst  them  not,  what  shall  become  of  me,  that  am  but 
vile?  Stars  fell  from  heaven,  and  I,  dust  and  ashes,  what 
should  I  presume?  Some  also  that  seemed  to  have  great 
works  of  virtue,  have  fallen  full  low;  and  such  as  were  fed 
with  meat  of  angels,  I  have  seen  after  delight  in  swine's 
meat,  that  is  to  say,  in  fleshly  pleasures. 

Wherefore,  it  may  be  well  said  and  verified  that  there  is 
no  holiness  or  goodness  in  us,  if  Thou  withdraw  Thy  hand 
of  mercy  from  us.  No  wisdom  may  avail  us,  if  Thou,  Lord, 
govern  it  not;  nor  any  strength  help,  if  Thou  cease  to  pre 
serve  us.  No  sure  chastity  can  be,  if  Thou,  Lord,  defend  it 
not;  nor  may  any  sure  keeping  profit  us,  if  Thy  holy  watch 
fulness  be  not  present;  for  if  we  be  forsaken  of  Thee,  anon 
we  are  drowned  and  perish.  But  if  Thou  visit  us  a  little  with 
Thy  grace,  we  anon  live,  and  be  lifted  up  again. We  are 
unstable  unless  Thou  confirm  us;  we  are  cold  and  dull  but 
if  by  Thee  we  be  stirred  to  fervour  of  spirit. 

O  how  meekly  and  abjectly  ought  I  therefore  to  judge  of 
myself,  and  how  much  ought  I  in  my  heart  to  despise  my 
self,  though  I  be  holden  ever  so  good  and  holy  in  sight  of 


the  world!  How  profoundly  ought  I  to  submit  me  to  Thy 
deep  and  profound  judgments,  sith  I  find  in  myself  nothing 
else  but  nought  and  nought !  O  Substance  that  may  not  be 
pondered!  O  Sea  that  may  not  be  sailed!  in  Thee  and  by 
Thee  I  find  that  my  substance  is  nothing,  and  over  all 
nought.  Where  is  now  the  shadow  of  this  worldly  glory,  and 
where  is  the  trust  that  I  had  in  it?  Truly  it  is  vanished  away 
through  the  deepness  of  Thy  secret  and  hidden  judgments 
upon  me. 

What  is  flesh  in  Thy  sight?  How  may  clay  glorify  him 
self  against  his  Maker?  How  may  he  be  deceived  with  vain 
praises  whose  heart  in  Truth  is  subject  to  God?  All  the 
world  may  not  lift  him  up  into  pride,  whom  Truth,  that 
God  is,  hath  perfectly  made  subject  unto  Him;  nor  may  he 
be  deceived  with  any  flattering  that  putteth  his  whole  trust 
in  God.  For  he  seeth  well  that  they  that  speak  be  vain  and 
nought,  and  that  their  memorial  is  perished  with  them,  but 
the  Lord  shall  endure  for  ever. 


MY  s  o N ,  saith  our  Saviour  Christ,  thus  shalt  thou  say  in 
everything  that  thou  desirest:  Lord,  if  it  be  Thy  will, 
be  it  done  as  I  ask,  and  if  it  be  to  Thy  praising,  be  it 
fulfilled  in  Thy  Name.  And  if  Thou  see  it  good  and  profit 
able  to  me,  give  me  grace  to  use  it  to  Thy  honour.  But  if 
Thou  know  it  hurtful  to  me,  and  not  profitable  to  the  health 
of  my  soul,  then  take  from  me  such  desire.  Every  desire 
cometh  not  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  though  it  seem  righteous 
and  good,  for  it  is  sometimes  full  hard  to  judge  whether  a 
good  spirit  or  an  evil  moveth  thee  to  this  thing  or  to  that; 
or  whether  thou  be  moved  of  thine  own  spirit.  Many  be 
deceived  in  the  end,  who  first  seemed  to  have  been  moved 
of  the  Holy  Ghost. 


Therefore  with  dread  of  God  and  with  meekness  of  heart, 
we  are  to  desire  and  ask  whatsoever  cometh  to  our  mind  to 
be  desired  and  asked;  and  with  a  whole  forsaking  of  ourself 
to  commit  all  things  to  God,  and  to  say  thus:  Lord/Thou 
knowest  what  thing  is  to  me  most  profitable,  do  this  or  that 
after  Thy  will.  Give  me  what  Thou  wilt,  as  much  as  Thou 
wilt,  and  when  Thou  wilt.  Do  with  me  as  Thou  knowest 
best  to  be  done,  and  as  it  shall  please  Thee,  and  be  most  to 
Thy  honour.  Put  me  where  Thou  wilt,  and  freely  do  with 
me  in  all  things  after  Thy  will.  I  am  in  Thine  hands,  lead 
me  and  turn  me  where  Thou  wilt.  Lo!  I  am  Thy  servant, 
ready  to  all  things  that  Thou  commandest,  for  I  desire  not 
to  live  to  myself  but  to  Thee.  Would  that  it  might  be  worth 
ily  and  profitably,  and  to  thy  honour!  Amen. 


Most  benign  Lord  Jesu,  grant  me  Thy  grace,  that  it  may 
be  always  with  me,  and  work  with  me,  and  persevere  with 
me  unto  the  end.  And  that  I  may  ever  desire  and  will  that 
is  most  pleasant  and  acceptable  to  Thee,  Thy  will  be  my 
will,  and  let  my  will  always  follow  Thy  will,  and  best  accord 
therewith.  Be  there  always  in  me  one  will  and  one  desire 
with  Thee.  And  that  I  may  have  no  power  to  will  or  not 
will,  but  as  Thou  wilt  or  wilt  not,  grant  me  that  I  may  die 
to  all  things  that  be  in  the  world,  and  for  Thee  to  love  to  be 
despised,  and  to  be  as  a  man  unknown  in  this  world.  Grant 
me  also,  above  all  things  that  can  be  desired,  that  I  may 
rest  me  in  Thee,  and  fully  in  Thee  pacify  my  heart;  for 
Thou,  Lord,  art  the  very  true  peace  of  heart,  and  the  perfect 
rest  of  body  and  soul,  and  without  Thee  all  things  be  griev 
ous  and  unquiet.  Wherefore,  in  that  peace  that  is,  in  Thee, 
the  one  high,  one  blessed,  and  one  endless  Goodness,  shall 
I  always  rest  me.  So  may  it  be.  Amen. 

1 02 


HATSOEVER  I  may  desire  or  think  to  my  comfort, 
I  abide  it  not  here,  but  I  trust  to  have  it  hereafter;  for 
if  I  alone  might  have  all  the  solace  and  comfort  of  this 
world   and  might  use  the  delights  thereof  after  mine  own 

/  o  *-> 

desire  without  sin,  it  is  certain  that  they  might  not  long 
endure.  Wherefore  my  soul  may  not  fully  be  comforted,  nor 
perfectly  refreshed,  but  in  God  only,  Who  is  the  comfort 
of  the  poor  in  spirit,  and  the  embracer  of  the  meek  and  lowly 
in  heart. 

Abide,  my  soul,  abide  the  promise  of  God,  and  thou 
shalt  have  abundance  of  all  goodness  in  heaven.  If  thou 
inordinately  covet  these  goods  present,  thou  shalt  lose  the 
goodness  eternal.  Have  therefore  present  goods  in  use,  and 
the  eternal  in  desire.  Thou  mayest  in  no  manner  be  satiate 
with  temporal  goods,  for  thou  art  not  created  so  to  use  them 
as  to  rest  thee  in  them.  If  thou  alone  hadst  all  the  goods  that 
ever  were  created  and  made,  thou  mightest  not  therefore  be 
happy  and  blessed;  but  thy  blessedness  and  full  felicity 
standeth  only  in  God,  that  hath  made  all  things  of  nought. 
And  that  is  not  such  felicity  as  is  commended  of  the  foolish 
lovers  of  the  world,  but  such  as  good  Christian  men  and 
women  hope  to  have  in  the  bliss  of  heaven,  and  such  as  some 
ghostly  persons,  clean  and  pure  in  heart,  whose  conversa 
tion  is  in  heaven,  sometimes  do  taste  here  in  this  present  life. 
All  worldly  solace  and  all  man's  comfort  is  vain  and  short, 
but  that  comfort  is  blessed  and  soothfast  that  is  received 
from  Truth  inwardly  in  the  heart.  A  devout  follower  of  God 
beareth  always  about  with  him  his  comforter,  that  is  Jesus, 
and  sayeth  thus  unto  Him :  My  Lord  Jesu,  I  beseech  Thee 
that  Thou  be  with  me  in  every  place  and  every  time,  and 
that  it  be  to  me  a  special  solace  gladly  for  Thy  love  to  want 
all  man's  solace;  and  if  Thy  solace  want  also,  that  Thy  will 


and  Thy  righteous  proving  and  assaying  of  me  may  be  to 
me  a  singular  comfort  and  a  high  solace.  Thou  wilt  not 
always  chide;  neither  wilt  thou  keep  thy  anger  for  ever.  So 
may  it  be.  Amen. 


MY  SON,  saith  our  Lord  to  His  servant,  suffer  Me  to  do 
with  thee  what  I  will,  for  I  know  what  is  best  and  most 
expedient  for  thee.Thou  workest  in  many  things  after 
thy  kindly  reason,  and  after  as  thy  affection  and  thy  worldly 
policy  stirreth  thee,  and  so  thou  mayest  lightly  err  and  be 

O  Lord !  it  is  true  all  that  Thou  sayest.  Thy  providence  is 
much  better  for  me  than  all  I  can  do  or  say  of  myself  .Where 
fore  it  may  well  be  said,  that  he  standeth  very  casually  that 
setteth  not  his  whole  trust  in  Thee.  Therefore,  Lord,  while 
my  wit  abideth  steadfast  and  stable,  do  with  me  in  all  things 
as  it  pleaseth  Thee,  for  it  may  not  be  but  well  all  that  Thou 
dost.  If  Thou  wilt  that  I  be  in  light,  be  Thou  blessed;  and 
if  Thou  wilt  that  I  be  in  darkness,  be  Thou  also  blessed.  If 
Thou  vouchsafe  to  comfort  me,  be  Thou  highly  blessed; 
and  if  Thou  wilt  that  I  shall  live  in  trouble  and  without  all 
comfort,  be  Thou  in  like  wise  much  blessed. 

My  son,  so  it  behoveth  to  be  with  thee,  if  thou  wilt  walk 
with  Me;  as  ready  must  thou  be  to  suffer  as  to  joy,  and  as 
gladly  be  needy  and  poor  as  wealthy  and  rich. 

Lord,  I  will  gladly  suffer  for  Thee  whatsoever  Thou  wilt 
shall  fall  upon  me.  Indifferently  will  I  take  of  Thy  hand 
good  and  bad,  bitter  and  sweet,  gladness  and  sorrow,  and 
for  all  things  that  shall  befall  unto  me,  heartily  will  I  thank 
Thee.  Keep  me,  Lord,  from  sin,  and  I  shall  dread  neither 
death  nor  hell.  Put  not  my  name  out  of  the  book  of  life, 
and  it  shall  not  grieve  me  what  trouble  soever  befall  me. 



MY  SON,  saith  our  Lord,  I  descended  from  heaven,  and 
for  thy  health  have  I  taken  thy  miseries,  not  com 
pelled  thereto  of  necessity,  but  of  My  charity/  that 
thou  mightest  learn  to  have  patience  with  Me,  and  not  to 
disdain  to  bear  the  miseries  and  wretchedness  of  this  life,  as 
I  have  done  for  thee.  For  from  the  first  hour  of  My  birth 
unto  My  death  upon  the  cross,  I  was  never  without  some 
sorrow  or  pain.  I  had  great  lack  of  temporal  things;  I  heard 
great  complaints  made  on  Me;  I  suffered  benignly  many 
shames  and  rebukes;  for  My  benefits  I  received  unkindness; 
for  My  miracles,  blasphemies;  and  for  My  true  doctrine, 
many  reproofs. 

O  Lord!  forasmuch  as  Thou  wert  found  patient  in  Thy 
life,  fulfilling  in  that  most  specially  the  will  of  Thy  Father, 
it  is  seeming  that  I,  most  wretched  sinner,  bear  me  patiently 
after  Thy  will  in  all  things,  and  that,  as  long  as  Thou  wilt, 
I  bear  for  mine  own  health  the  burden  of  this  corruptible 
life.  For  though  this  life  be  tedious  and  as  a  heavy  burden  to 
the  soul,  yet  nevertheless  it  is  now  through  Thy  grace  made 
very  meritorious;  and  by  example  of  Thee  and  of  Thy  holy 
Saints,  it  is  now  made  to  weak  persons  more  sufTerable  and 
clear.  And  also  much  more  comfortable  than  it  was  in  the 
Old  Law,  when  the  gates  of  heaven  were  shut,  and  the  way 
thitherward  was  dark,  and  so  few  did  covet  to  seek  it.  And 
yet  they  that  were  then  righteous,  and  were  ordained  to 
be  saved,  before  Thy  blessed  Passion  and  Death  could  never 
come  thither. 

O  what  thanks  am  I  bound  therefore  to  yield  to  Thee, 
that  so  lovingly  hast  vouchsafed  to  show  to  me,  and  to  all 
faithful  people  that  will  follow  Thee,  the  very  true  and 
straight  way  to  Thy  kingdom.  Thy  holy  life  is  our  way,  and 
by  holy  patience  we  walk  to  Thee,  Who  art  our  head  and 
governor.  And  if  Thou,  Lord,  hadst  not  gone  before  and 


showed  us  the  way,  who  would  have  endeavoured  him  to 
have  followed?  How  many  would  have  tarried  behind,  if 
they  had  not  seen  Thy  blessed  example  going  before?  We 
are  yet  slow  and  dull,  now  we  have  seen  and  heard  Thy 
signs  and  doctrines;  what  would  we  then  have  been,  if  we 
had  seen  no  such  Light  going  before  us?  Truly,  we  should 
have  fixed  our  mind  and  love  wholly  in  worldly  things. 
From  the  which  keep  us,  Lord,  of  Thy  great  goodness. 


MY  s  0 N ,  what  is  it  that  thou  speakest ?  Why  complainest 
thou  thus?  Cease,  cease,  complain  no  more,  consider 
My  Passion,  and  the  passions  of  My  Saints,  and  thou 
shalt  well  see  that  it  is  right  little  that  thou  sufTerest  for  Me. 
Thou  hast  not  yet  suffered  to  the  shedding  of  thy  blood, 
and  truly  thou  hast  little  suffered  in  comparison  of  them  that 
have  suffered  so  many  things  for  Me  in  time  past,  and  that 
have  been  so  strongly  tempted,  so  grievously  troubled,  and 
so  many  ways  proved.  It  behoveth  thee,  therefore,  to  re 
member  the  great  grievous  things  that  others  have  suffered 
for  Me,  that  thou  mayest  the  more  lightly  bear  thy  little 
griefs;  and  if  they  seem  not  little  to  thee,  look  thy  impatience 
cause  it  not:  but,  nevertheless,  whether  they  be  little  or 
great,  study  always  to  bear  them  patiently,  without  grudg 
ing  or  complaining,  if  thou  may. 

The  better  that  thou  canst  dispose  thee  to  surfer  them,  the 
wiselier  thou  dost,  and  the  more  merit  shalt  thou  have;  thy 
burden  shall  also  be  the  lighter  by  reason  of  thy  good  cus 
tom  and  thy  good  will.  Thou  shalt  never  say:  I  cannot  surfer 
this  thing  of  such  a  person,  nor  is  it  for  me  to  suffer  it;  he 
hath  done  me  great  wrong,  and  layeth  unto  my  charge  that 
I  never  thought;  but  of  another  man  I  will  surfer  as  I  shall 
think.  Such  sayings  be  not  good,  for  they  consider  not  the 



virtue  of  patience/  nor  of  Whom  it  will  be  crowned,  but  they 
consider  rather  the  persons  and  the  offences  done  unto  them. 

Therefore  he  is  not  truly  patient  that  will  not  suffer  but 
as  much  as  he  will,  and  of  whom  he  will;  for  a  true  patient 
man  f  orceth  not  of  whom  he  suffereth,  whether  of  his  prelate, 
or  of  his  fellow  that  is  equal  unto  him,  or  of  any  other  that 
is  under  him;  whether  he  be  a  good  man  and  a  holy,  or  an 
evil  man  and  an  unworthy.  But  whensoever  any  adversity 
or  wrong  falleth  unto  him,  whatsoever  it  be,  and  of  whom 
soever,  and  how  oft  soever,  he  taketh  all  thankfully  as  of 
the  hand  of  God,  and  accounteth  it  as  a  rich  gift  and  a  great 
benefit:  for  he  knoweth  well,  that  there  is  nothing  that  a 
man  may  suffer  for  God,  that  may  pass  without  great  merit. 

Be  thou  therefore  ready  to  battle  if  thou  wilt  have  victory. 
Without  battle  thou  mayest  not  come  to  the  crown  of 
patience,  and  if  thou  wilt  not  suffer  thou  refusest  to  be 
crowned.  Wherefore,  if  thou  wilt  needly  be  crowned,  resist 
strongly  and  suffer  patiently;  for  without  labour  no  man 
may  come  to  rest,  nor  without  battle  may  any  man  come  to 

O  Lord  Jesu!  make  it  possible  to  me  by  grace,  that  is 
impossible  to  me  by  nature.  Thou  knowest  well  that  I  may 
little  suffer,  and  that  I  am  cast  down  anon  with  a  little  adver 
sity.  Wherefore  I  beseech  Thee,  that  trouble  and  adversity 
may  hereafter  for  Thy  Name  be  beloved  and  desired  of 
me;  for  truly  to  suffer  and  to  be  vexed  for  Thee  is  very  good 
and  profitable  to  the  health  of  my  soul. 


WILL  acknowledge  my  sin  unto  Thee,  and  I  will  confess  to 
Thee,  Lord,  all  the  unstableness  of  my  heart. 

Ofttimes  it  is  but  a  little  thing  that  casteth  me  down, 
and  maketh  me  dull  and  slow  to  all  good  works.  I  purpose  to 


stand  strongly;  but  when  a  little  temptation  cometh  it  is  to 
me  great  anguish  and  grief.  Of  a  right  little  thing  sometimes 
riseth  a  grievous  temptation,  and  when  I  think  myself  to  be 
somewhat  surer,  and  I  have  the  higher  hand  as  it  seemeth, 
suddenly  I  feel  myself  near-hand  overcome  by  a  light 

Behold  therefore,  good  Lord,  behold  my  weakness  and 
my  frailness,  best  known  to  Thee  before  all  others.  Have 
mercy  on  me,  O  Lord,  and  deliver  me  out  of  the  mire  of  sin, 
that  my  feet  be  never  fixed  in  it.  But  this  it  is  that  oft  grudgeth 
me  sore,  and  in  manner  confoundeth  me  before  Thee,  that 
I  am  so  unstable  and  weak,  so  frail  to  resist  my  passions. 
And  though  they  draw  me  not  always  to  consent,  yet  never 
theless  their  cruel  assaults  be  very  grievous  unto  me,  so  that 
it  is  in  a  manner  tedious  to  me  to  live  in  such  battle :  but  yet 
such  battle  is  not  all  unprofitable  to  me,  for  thereby  I  know 
the  better  mine  own  infirmities,  in  that  I  see  well  that  such 
wicked  fantasies  do  rise  in  me  much  sooner  than  they  go 
away.  But  would  to  God  that  Thou,  most  strong  God  of 
Israel,  the  lover  of  all  faithful  souls,  wouldst  vouchsafe 
to  behold  the  labour  and  sorrow  of  me  Thy  poorest  servant, 
and  that  Thou  wouldst  assist  me  in  all  things  that  I  have  to 
do!  Strengthen  me,  Lord,  with  heavenly  strength,  so  that 
the  old  enemy  the  fiend,  or  my  wretched  flesh,  which  is  not 
yet  fully  subject  to  the  spirit,  have  not  power  or  lordship 
over  me;  for  against  them  I  must  fight  continually,  while 
I  shall  live  in  this  miserable  life.  But  alas,  what  life  is  this, 
where  no  trouble  or  misery  wanteth,  where  also  every  place 
is  full  of  snares  and  of  mortal  enemies !  For  one  trouble  or 
temptation  going  away  another  cometh;  and  the  first  con 
flict  yet  during,  many  others  suddenly  rise,  more  than  can 
be  thought. 

How  may  this  life  therefore  be  loved  that  hath  such  bitter 
ness,  and  that  is  subject  to  so  many  miseries?  And  how  may 
it  be  called  a  life,  that  bringeth  forth  so  many  deaths,  and 


so  many  ghostly  infections?  And  yet  it  is  beloved  and  much 
delighted  of  in  many  persons.  The  world  is  oft  reproved, 
that  it  is  deceitful  and  vain,  and  yet  it  is  not  lightly  forsaken, 
especially  when  the  concupiscences  of  the  flesh  be  suffered 
to  have  rule.  Some  things  stir  a  man  to  love  the  world,  and 
some  things  to  despise  it.  The  lust  of  the  flesh,  and  the  lust 
of  the  eyes,  and  the  pride  of  life  stir  man  to  love  the  world. 
But  the  pains  and  miseries  that  follow  them  cause  again 
hatred  and  tediousness  of  it. 

But  alas  for  sorrow,  a  little  delectation  overcometh  the 
mind  of  them  that  be  much  set  to  love  the  world,  and  driveth 
out  of  their  hearts  all  heavenly  desires;  insomuch  that  many 
account  it  as  a  joy  of  paradise  to  live  under  such  sensible 
pleasures,  because  they  neither  have  seen  nor  tasted  the 
sweetness  in  God,  and  the  inward  gladness  that  cometh  of 
virtues.  But  they  that  perfectly  despise  the  world,  and  that 
study  to  live  under  holy  discipline,  be  not  ignorant  of  the 
heavenly  sweetness  that  is  promised  unto  ghostly  livers;  they 
also  see  how  grievously  the  world  erreth,  and  how  grievously 
it  is  deceived  in  divers  manners. 


BOVE  all  things  and  in  all  things  rest  thou,  my  soul,  in 
thy  Lord  God,  for  He  is  the  eternal  rest  of  all  Angels 
and  Saints. 

Give  me,  Lord  Jesu,  this  special  grace,  to  rest  me  in  Thee 
above  all  creatures;  above  all  health  and  fairness,  above  all 
glory  and  honour,  above  all  dignity  and  power,  above  all 
cunning  and  policy,  above  all  riches  and  crafts,  above  all 
gladness  of  body  and  soul,  above  all  fame  and  praising, 
above  all  sweetness  and  consolation,  above  all  hope  and 
promise,  above  all  merit  and  desire;  above  all  gifts  and  re 
wards  that  Thou  mayest  give  or  send  beside  Thyself,  and 
above  all  joy  and  mirth  that  man's  heart  or  mind  may  take 


or  feel.  Also  above  all  Angels  and  Archangels/  and  above 
the  company  of  heavenly  spirits,  above  all  things  visible 
and  invisible,  and  above  all  things,  that  is  not  Thyself. 

For  Thou,  O  Lord  God,  art  the  best,  most  high,  most 
mighty,  most  sufficient,  and  most  full  of  goodness,  most 
sweet,  most  comfortable,  most  fair,  most  loving,  most  noble, 
and  most  glorious  above  all  things;  in  Whom  all  goodness 
together  perfectly  and  fully  is,  hath  been,  and  shall  be.  And 
therefore,  whatsoever  Thou  givest  me  beside  Thyself,  it  is 
little  and  insufficient  to  me;  for  my  heart  may  not  rest  nor 
fully  be  pacified  but  in  Thee,  so  that  it  ascendeth  above  all 
gifts,  and  also  above  all  things  that  be  created. 

O  my  Lord  Jesu  Christ,  most  loving  spouse,  most  pure 
lover  and  governor  of  every  creature,  who  shall  give  me 
wings  of  perfect  liberty  that  I  may  fly  high  and  rest  me  in 
Thee?  O  when  shall  I  fully  tend  to  Thee,  and  see  and  feel 
how  sweet  Thou  art!  When  shall  I  wholly  gather  myself  to 
gether  in  Thee  so  perfectly,  that  I  shall  not  for  Thy  love  feel 
myself,  but  Thee  alone  above  myself  and  above  all  bodily 
things  and  that  Thou  shalt  visit  me  in  such  wise  as  Thou  dost 

O     / 

visit  Thy  faithful  lovers !  Now  I  oft  mourn  and  complain  the 
miseries  of  this  life,  and  with  sorrow7  and  woe  bear  them  with 
right  great  heaviness;  for  many  evil  things  happen  daily  in 
this  life,  which  ofttimes  trouble  me,  and  make  me  very  heavy, 
and  greatly  darken  mine  understanding;  very  often  they 
hinder  me  greatly,  and  put  my  mind  from  Thee,  and  so  en 
cumber  me  many  ways,  that  I  cannot  have  free  mind  and 
clean  desire  to  Thee,  nor  have  the  sweet  embracings  that  to 
Thy  blessed  Saints  be  always  present.  Wherefore  I  beseech 
thee,  Lord  Christ  Jesu,  that  the  sighings  and  the  inward 
desires  of  my  heart,  with  my  manifold  desolations,  may 
somewhat  move  Thee  and  incline  Thee  to  hear  me. 

O  Jesu,  the  light  and  brightness  of  everlasting  glory,  the 
joy  and  comfort  of  all  Christian  people  that  are  walking 
and  labouring  as  pilgrims  in  the  wilderness  of  this  world, 


my  heart  crieth  to  Thee  by  still  desires  without  voice,  and 
my  silence  speaketh  unto  Thee,  and  saith  thus :  How  long 
tarrieth  my  Lord  God  to  come  to  me? Verily,  I  trust  that  He 
will  shortly  come  to  me,  His  poorest  servant,  and  comfort 
me,  and  make  me  joyous  and  glad  in  Him;  that  He  will 
deliver  me  from  all  anguish  and  sorrow.  Come,  Lord,  come, 
for  without  Thee  I  have  no  glad  day  nor  hour;  for  Thou  art 
all  my  joy,  and  without  Thee  my  soul  is  barren  and  void. 
I  am  a  wretch,  and  in  manner  in  prison,  and  bound  with 
fetters,  till  Thou,  through  the  light  of  Thy  gracious  pres 
ence,  vouchsafe  to  visit  me  and  refresh  me,  and  to  bring  me 
again  to  liberty  of  spirit,  and  Thou  vouchsafe  to  shew  Thy 
favourable  and  loving  countenance  unto  me. 

Let  others  seek  what  they  will,  but  truly  there  is  nothing 
that  I  will  seek,  or  that  shall  please  me,  but  Thou,  my  Lord 
God,  my  hope  and  everlasting  health.  I  will  not  cease  of 
prayer  till  Thy  grace  return  to  me  again,  and  Thou  speak 
inwardly  to  my  soul,  and  say  thus :  Lo,  I  am  here !  I  am  come 
to  thee,  for  thou  hast  called  Me.  Thy  tears,  and  the  desire 
of  thy  heart,  thy  meekness  and  thy  contrition,  have  bowed 
Me  down  and  brought  Me  to  thee. 

And  I  shall  say  again :  Lord,  I  have  called  Thee,  and  I  have 
desired  to  have  Thee,  ready  to  forsake  all  things  for  Thee, 
sith  Thou  first  stirred  me  to  seek  Thee.  Wherefore,  be  Thou 
always  blessed  that  hast  shewed  such  goodness  to  me  after 
the  multitude  of  Thy  mercy.  What  hath  Thy  servant,  Lord, 
more  to  do  or  say,  but  that  he  meeken  himself  before  Thy 
Majesty,  and  ever  have  in  mind  his  own  iniquity?  There  is 
none  like  to  Thee,  Lord,  in  heaven  or  in  earth.  Thy  works 
be  good,  Thy  judgments  be  righteous,  and  by  Thy  Provi 
dence  all  things  be  governed. Wherefore  to  Thee, Who  art 
the  Wisdom  of  the  Father,  be  everlasting  joy  and  glory !  And 
I  humbly  beseech  Thee,  that  my  body  and  soul,  my  heart 
and  tongue,  and  all  Thy  creatures,  may  ever  laud  Thee  and 
bless  Thee.  Amen. 



OPEN  mine  heart,  Lord,  into  the  beholding  of  Thy  laws, 
and  in  Thy  commandments  teach  me  to  walk.  Give  me 
grace  to  know  and  to  understand  thy  will,  and  with 
great  reverence  and  diligent  consideration  to  remember  Thy 
manifold  benefits;  that  from  henceforth  I  may  yield  to  Thee 
due  thanks  for  them  again.  But  I  know  and  confess  it  for 
truth,  that  I  am  not  able  to  yield  to  Thee  condign  thankings 
for  the  least  benefit  that  thou  hast  given  me,  for  I  am  less 
than  the  least  benefit  that  Thou  hast  given.  And  when  I  be 
hold  Thy  nobleness  and  worthiness,  my  spirit  dreadeth  and 
trembleth  very  sore  for  the  greatness  thereof. 

O  Lord !  all  that  we  have  in  body  and  in  soul,  inwardly 
and  outwardly,  naturally  or  supernaturally,  they  are  Thy 
benefits,  and  show  Thee  openly  to  be  a  blessed  and  good 
benefactor,  of  Whom  we  have  received  such  gifts.  And 
though  one  hath  received  more  and  another  less,  yet  they 
all  are  Thy  gifts,  and  without  Thee  the  least  cannot  be  had. 
He  that  hath  more  received,  may  not  rightfully  glorify  him 
self  therein,  as  though  he  had  gotten  it  by  his  own  merit,  nor 
exalt  himself  above  other,  nor  disdain  other,  nor  despise  his 
inferiors;  for  he  is  greatest  and  most  acceptable  to  Thee,  that 
least  ascribeth  to  himself,  and  that  is  for  such  gifts  the  more 
meek  and  devout  in  yielding  thanks  to  Thee  for  them.  And 
he  that  through  meekness  can  hold  himself  most  vile,  and 
most  unworthy  of  all  other,  is  the  more  apt  to  receive  of  Thy 
hand  larger  gifts. 

He  that  hath  received  the  fewer  gifts  ought  not  therefore 
to  be  heavy,  or  to  disdain  at  it,  nor  to  be  envious  against 
them  that  have  received  the  greater;  but  rather  he  ought  to 
lift  his  mind  upward  to  Thee,  and  highly  to  laud  and  praise 
Thy  Name,  that  Thou  so  liberally,  so  lovingly,  and  so  freely, 
without  accepting  of  persons,  departest  Thy  gifts  among 


Thy  people.  All  things  come  of  Thee,  and  therefore  Thou 
art  in  all  things  to  be  blessed.  Thou  knowest  what  is  expe 
dient  to  be  given  to  every  person/  and  why  one  hath  less 
and  another  more;  it  is  not  for  us  to  reason  or  discuss,  but 
to  Thee  only,  by  Whom  the  merits  of  every  man  shall  be 

Wherefore,  Lord,  I  account  it  for  a  great  benefit  not  to 
have  many  gifts  whereby  outwardly,  and  after  man's  judg 
ment,  laud  and  praising  should  follow.  And  over  that,  as 
me  seemeth,  although  a  man  consider  and  behold  his  own 
poverty,  and  the  vileness  of  his  own  person,  he  ought  not 
therefore  to  take  grief,  heaviness,  and  dejection,  but  rather 
to  conceive  thereby  great  gladness  of  soul;  for  Thou  hast 
chosen,  and  daily  dost  choose,  poor  meek  persons,  and  such 
as  be  despised  in  the  world,  to  be  Thy  familiar  and  house 
hold  servants.  Witness  Thy  Apostles,  whom  Thou  madest 
princes  of  all  the  world.  Nevertheless  they  were  conversant 
among  the  people  without  complaining  or  missaying;  so 
meek  and  simple  without  all  malice  or  deceit,  that  they  joyed 
to  suffer  reproofs  for  Thy  Name;  so  far  forth,  that  such 
things  as  the  world  abhorreth  and  flieth,  they  coveted  with 
great  desire. 

Thus  it  appeareth  that  nothing  ought  so  much  to  comfort 
and  glad  Thy  lover,  and  him  that  hath  received  Thy  bene 
fits,  as  that  Thy  will  and  pleasure  be  fulfilled  in  him  after 
Thy  eternal  disposition  of  him  from  the  beginning.  Where 
with  he  ought  to  be  so  well  contented  and  pleased,  that  he 
would  as  gladly  be  holden  least  as  others  would  be  holden 
most.  As  peaceful  would  he  be  and  as  well  pleased  in  the 
lowest  place,  as  in  the  highest;  as  glad  to  be  despised,  and 
abject,  and  of  no  name  or  reputation  in  the  world,  as  others 
to  be  nobler  or  greater.  For  Thy  will,  Lord,  and  the  honour 
of  Thy  Name,  ought  to  excel  all  things;  and  more  ought  it 
to  please  and  comfort  Thy  lover,  than  all  other  benefits 
given,  or  that  might  be  given  unto  him. 



MY  SON,  now  shall  I  teach  thee  the  very  true  way  of 
peace  and  of  perfect  liberty. 
O  Lord  Jesu,  do  as  Thou  sayest,  for  that  is  right 
joyous  for  me  to  hear. 

Study,  My  son/  rather  to  fulfil  another  man's  will  than 
thine  own. 

Choose  always  to  have  little  worldly  riches,  rather  than 

Seek  always  the  lowest  place,  and  desire  to  be  under  other 
rather  than  above. 

Covet  always,  and  pray  that  the  will  of  God  be  wholly 
done  in  thee. 

Lo!  such  a  person  entereth  soothfastly  into  the  very  true 
way  of  peace  and  inward  quietness. 

O  Lord,  this  short  lesson  that  Thou  hast  taught  me,  con- 
taineth  in  itself  much  high  perfection.  It  is  short  in  words, 
but  it  is  full  of  sentence  and  fruitful  in  virtue;  for  if  it  were 
well  and  faithfully  kept  of  me,  unrestfulness  would  not  so 
lightly  spring  in  me  as  it  hath  done.  For  as  oft  as  I  feel  myself 
unrestf ul  and  not  contented,  I  find  that  I  have  gone  from  this 
lesson  and  from  this  good  doctrine.  But  Thou,  Lord  Jesu, 
Who  hast  all  things  under  Thy  governance,  and  always 
lovest  the  health  of  man's  soul,  increase  more  grace  in  me, 
that  I  may  from  henceforth  fulfil  these  teachings,  and  that 
I  may  do  always  what  shall  be  to  Thy  honour  and  to  the 
health  of  my  soul.  Amen. 


My  Lord  Jesu!  I  beseech  Thee,  be  not  far  from  me,  but 
come  shortly  and  help  me,  for  vain  thoughts  have  risen  in 
mine  heart,  and  worldly  dreads  have  troubled  me  very  sore. 
How  shall  I  break  them  down?  How  shall  I  pass  unhurt 
without  Thy  help? 


I  shall  go  before  thee,  Thou  sayest,  Lord,  and  I  shall 
drive  away  the  pride  of  thy  heart,  then  shall  I  set  open  to 
thee  the  gates  of  ghostly  knowledge,  and  shall  shew  to  thee 
the  privities  of  My  secrets. 

O  Lord,  do  as  Thou  sayest,  and  then  shall  flee  from  me 
all  wicked  fantasies.  Truly  this  is  my  hope  and  my  only 
comfort,  to  flee  to  Thee  in  every  trouble,  steadfastly  to  trust 
in  Thee,  inwardly  to  call  to  Thee,  and  patiently  to  abide 
Thy  coming  and  Thy  heavenly  consolations,  which  I  trust 
will  shortly  come  to  me.  Amen. 


Clarify  me,  Lord  Jesu,  with  the  clearness  of  the  everlast 
ing  light,  and  drive  out  of  my  heart  all  manner  of  darkness 
and  all  vain  imaginations.  Fight  strongly  for  me,  and  drive 
away  the  evil  beasts,  that  is  to  say,  all  my  evil  and  wicked 
concupiscences,  that  peace  of  conscience  may  enter  and  have 
full  rule  in  me,  and  that  abundance  of  laud  and  praising  of 
Thy  Name  may  sound  continually  in  the  chamber  of  my 
soul,  that  is  to  say,  in  a  pure  and  clean  conscience.  Command 
the  winds  and  tempests  of  pride  to  cease;  bid  the  sea  of 
worldly  covetise  to  be  in  rest;  and  charge  the  north  wind, 
that  is  to  say,  the  fiend's  temptation,  that  it  blow  not;  and 
then  shall  be  great  tranquillity  and  peace  in  me. 

O  send  out  thy  light  and  thy  truth  of  ghostly  knowledge, 
that  it  may  shine  upon  the  earth  barren  and  dry.  Send  down 
Thy  grace  from  above,  and  therewith  anoint  my  dry  heart; 
give  me  the  water  of  inward  devotion  to  moist  therewith 
the  dryness  of  my  soul,  that  it  may  bring  forth  some  good 
fruit,  that  shall  be  liking  and  pleasant  to  Thee.  Raise  up  my 
mind  that  is  sore  oppressed  with  the  heavy  burden  of  sin, 
and  lift  up  my  desire  to  the  love  of  heavenly  things,  that  by 
a  taste  of  the  heavenly  felicity  it  may  loathe  to  think  on  any 
earthly  thing. 


Take  me  Lord/  and  deliver  me  from  the  vile  consolation 
of  creatures,  which  must  of  necessity  shortly  perish  and  fail. 
For  there  is  nothing  created  that  may  fully  satisfy  mine 
appetite.  Join  me,  therefore,  to  Thee,  with  a  sure  bond  of 
heavenly  love,  for  Thou  alone  sufficest  to  Thy  lover.  And 
without  Thee  all  thinss  be  vain  and  of  no  substance. 


MY  SON,  saith  our  Lord,  look  thou  be  not  curious  in 
searching  of  any  other  man's  life,  neither  do  thou 
busy  thyself  with  those  things  which  do  not  belong 
unto  thee.What  is  this  or  that  to  thee?  Follow  thou  Me. 
What  is  it  to  thee  whether  this  man  be  good  or  bad/  whether 
he  say  or  do  this  or  that?  Thou  needest  not  to  answer  for 
another  man's  deeds,  but  for  thine  own  thou  must  needly 
answer.  Why  then  dost  thou  meddle  where  it  needeth  not? 
I  know  every  man,  and  every  thing  under  the  sun  I  see  and 
behold.  How  it  is  with  every  person,  what  he  thinketh, 
what  he  willeth,  and  to  what  end  his  work  draweth,  is  open 
to  Me.  Therefore  all  things  are  to  be  referred  to  Me.  Keep 
thyself  always  in  good  peace,  and  suffer  him  that  will  always 
search  another  man's  life  to  be  as  busy  as  he  will.  And  in 
the  end  it  shall  fall  upon  him  as  he  hath  done  and  said,  for 
he  cannot  deceive  Me  whatsoever  he  be. 

If  thou  admonish  any  person  for  his  soul-health,  look 
thou  do  it  not  to  get  thee  thereby  any  name  or  fame  in  the 
world;  nor  to  have  the  familiarity  or  private  love  of  any 
person,  for  such  things  cause  much  unquietness  of  mind, 
and  will  make  thee  also  to  lose  the  reward  that  thou  shouldst 
have  of  God,  and  will  bring  great  darkness  into  thy  soul. 
I  would  gladly  speak  to  thee  My  words,  and  open  to  thee 
the  secret  mysteries  of  fraternal  correction,  if  thou  wouldst 
prepare  thy  soul  against  My  coming,  and  thou  wouldst  open 


the  mouth  of  thy  heart  faithfully  to  Me.  Be  thou  provident, 
wake  diligently  in  prayer,  humble  thyself  in  everything,  and 
thou  shalt  find  great  comfort  in  God. 


MY  SON,  saith  our  Lord  Jesus,  I  s^id  to  My  disciples 
thus :  Peace  I  leave  with  you,  my  peace  I  give  unto 
you:  not  as  the  world  giveth,  give  I  unto  you,  but 
much  more  than  it  may  give.  All  men  desire  peace,  but  all 
men  will  not  do  that  belongeth  to  peace.  My  peace  is  with 
the  meek  and  mild  in  heart.  Thy  peace  shall  be  in  much 
patience.  If  thou  wilt  hear  Me  and  follow  My  words,  thou 
shalt  have  great  plenty  of  peace. 

O  Lord,  what  shall  I  do  to  come  to  that  peace? 

Thou  shalt  in  all  thy  works  take  good  heed  what  thou 
dost  and  sayest,  and  thou  shalt  set  thy  whole  intent  to  please 
Me,  and  nothing  shalt  thou  covet  or  seek  without  Me.  But 
of  other  men's  deeds  thou  shalt  not  judge  presumptuously, 
neither  shalt  thou  meddle  with  things  that  pertain  not  to 
thee ;  if  thou  do  thus,  it  may  be  that  thou  shalt  little  or  seldom 
be  troubled.  But  never  to  feel  any  manner  of  trouble,  nor  to 
surfer  any  heaviness  in  body  or  in  soul,  is  not  the  state  of 
this  life,  but  of  the  life  to  come. 

Think  not  therefore  that  thou  hast  found  the  true  peace 
when  thou  feelest  no  grief;  nor  that  all  is  well  with  thee 
when  thou  hast  no  adversity;  nor  that  all  is  perfect  for  that 
everything  cometh  after  thy  mind.  Nor  yet  that  thou  art 
great  in  God's  sight,  or  specially  beloved  of  Him,  because 
thou  hast  great  fervour  in  devotion,  and  great  sweetness  in 
contemplation,  for  a  true  lover  of  virtue  is  not  known  by  all 
these  things,  nor  doth  the  true  perfection  of  man  stand  in 

Wherein  then,  Lord? 

In  a  man  offering  his  heart  wholly  to  God;  not  seeking 
himself  either  in  great  things  or  in  small,  in  time  or  in  eter 
nity.  So  that  he  abide  always  one,  and  yield  always  like 
thanks  to  God  for  things  pleasant  and  unpleasant;  weighing 
them  all  in  the  one  like  balance  of  His  love.  Also/  if  he  be 
so  strong  in  God  that,  when  inward  consolation  is  with 
drawn/  he  can  yet  stir  his  heart  to  suffer  more  if  God  so  will/ 
and  yet  justifieth  not  himself/  nor  praiseth  himself  as  holy 
and  righteous.  He  walketh  then  in  the  very  true  way  of 
Peace/  and  he  may  then  have  a  sure  and  perfect  hope  that 
he  shall  see  Me  face  to  face  in  the  everlasting  joy  and  fruition 
of  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  And  if  he  can  come  to  a  perfect 
despising  of  himself/  then  he  shall  have  a  full  abundance  of 
rest  and  peace  in  the  joy  everlasting/  after  the  measure  of 
his  gift.  Amen. 


LD,  it  is  the  work  of  a  perfect  man  not  to  sequester  his 
mind  from  the  beholding  of  heavenly  things;  and 
amongst  many  cares,  to  go  as  if  he  were  without  care/ 
not  in  the  manner  of  an  idle  or  of  a  dissolute  person/  but  by 
the  special  prerogative  of  a  free  mind  always  busy  in  God's 
service/  and  not  cleaving  by  inordinate  affection  to  any 

I  beseech  Thee/  therefore/  my  Lord  Jesu/  most  meek  and 
merciful/  that  Thou  keep  me  from  the  business  and  cares  of 
the  world;  and  that  I  be  not  overmuch  unquieted  with  the 
necessities  of  the  bodily  kind/  nor  taken  with  the  voluptuous 
pleasures  of  the  world  and  the  flesh;  likewise  that  Thou 
preserve  me  from  all  hindrance  of  the  soul/  that  so  I  be 
not  broken  with  overmuch  heaviness/  sorrow/  and  worldly 
dread.  And  by  these  petitions  I  ask  to  be  delivered  not  only 
from  such  vanities  as  the  world  desireth/  but  also  from  such 


miseries  as  grieve  the  soul  of  me,  Thy  servant,  with  the  com 
mon  malediction  of  mankind,  that  is,  with  the  corruption  of 
the  body,  whereby  I  am  so  grieved  and  letted,  that  I  may  not 
have  liberty  of  spirit  to  behold  Thee  when  I  would. 

O  Lord  God,  that  art  sweetness  unspeakable,  turn  into 
bitterness  to  me  all  fleshly  delights,  which  would  draw  me 
from  the  love  of  eternal  things  to  the  love  of  a  short  and  a 
vile  delectable  pleasure.  Let  not  flesh  and  blood  overcome 
me,  nor  the  world  with  his  short  glory  deceive  me,  nor  the 
fiend  with  his  thousandfold  crafts  supplant  me;  but  give  me 
ghostly  strength  in  resisting,  patience  in  suffering,  and  con 
stancy  in  persevering.  Give  me  also,  for  all  worldly  consola 
tions,  the  most  sweet  consolations  of  the  Holy  Ghost;  and 
for  all  fleshly  love,  send  into  my  soul  the  love  of  Thy  Holy 

Lo!  meat,  drink,  clothing,  and  all  other  necessaries  for 
the  body  be  painful  and  troublesome  to  a  fervent  spirit, 
which,  if  it  might,  would  always  rest  in  God  and  in  ghostly 
things.  Grant  me  grace,  therefore,  to  use  such  bodily  neces 
saries  temperately,  and  that  I  be  not  deceived  with  overmuch 
desire  to  them.  To  forsake  all  things  is  not  lawful,  for  the 
bodily  kind  must  be  preserved;  but  to  seek  superfluous 
things  more  for  pleasure  than  for  necessity,  Thy  holy  law 
prohibiteth;  for  so  the  flesh  would  rebel  against  the  spirit. 
Wherefore,  Lord,  I  beseech  Thee,  that  Thy  hand  of  grace 
so  govern  and  teach  me,  that  I  exceed  not  by  any  manner  of 
superfluity.  Amen. 


MY  SON,  saith  our  Lord,  it  behoveth  thee  to  give  all  for 
all,  and  to  keep  nothing  to  thee  of  thine  own  love;  for 
the  love  of  thyself  more  hurteth  thee  than  any  other 
thing  in  this  world.  After  thy  love  and  after  thine  affection 


everything  cleaveth  to  thee  more  or  less.  If  thy  love  be  pure, 
simple,  and  well  ordered,  thou  shalt  be  without  inordinate 
affection  to  any  creature.  Covet  nothing  therefore  that  it  is 
not  lawful  for  thee  to  have,  and  have  nothing  that  may  let 
thee  from  ghostly  travail,  or  that  may  take  from  thee  inward 
liberty  of  soul.  It  is  marvel  that  thou  committest  not  thyself 
fully  to  Me  with  all  thy  heart,  together  with  all  things  that 
thou  mayest  have  or  desire. 

Why  art  thou  thus  consumed  with  vain  sorrow?Why  art 
thou  wearied  with  superfluous  cares?  Stand  at  My  will, 
and  thou  shalt  find  nothing  that  shall  hurt  or  hinder  thee. 
But  if  thou  seek  this  thing  or  that,  and  wouldst  be  in  this 
place  or  in  that,  for  thine  own  profit  and  for  thine  own 
pleasure,  thou  shalt  never  be  at  rest,  nor  ever  free  from  some 
trouble  of  mind;  for  in  every  place  shall  be  found  something 
that  will  mislike  thee. 

Transitory  things  when  they  be  had  and  greatly  multi 
plied  in  the  world,  do  not  always  help  man's  soul  to  peace; 
but  rather  when  they  be  despised  and  fully  cut  out  of  the 
love  and  desire  of  the  heart.  This  is  not  to  be  understood 
only  of  gold  and  silver,  and  other  worldly  riches,  but  also 
of  the  desire  of  honours  and  praisings  of  the  world,  which 
shortly  vanish  and  pass  away,  as  does  the  smoke  with  the 

The  place  helpeth  little  if  the  spirit  of  fervour  be  away. 
The  peace  also  that  a  man  getteth  outwardly  shall  not  long 
stand  whole,  if  it  be  void  from  the  true  inward  Peace  of 
heart.  That  is  to  say,  though  thou  change  thy  place,  yet  it 
shall  little  amend  thee,  unless  thou  stand  steadfast  in  Me. 
For  by  new  occasions  that  shall  daily  rise,  thou  shalt  find 
that  thou  hast  fled;  and  percase  much  more  perilous  and 
much  more  grievous  things  than  the  first  were. 




Confirm  me,  Lord,  by  the  grace  of  the  Holy  Ghost.  Give 
me  grace  to  be  strong  in  soul,  and  avoid  out  thereof  all  un 
profitable  business  of  the  world  and  of  the  flesh,  that  it  may 
not  be  led  by  unstable  desires  of  earthly  things;  that  I  may 
behold  all  things  as  they  be,  transitory  and  of  short  abiding; 
and  myself  as  also  to  go  with  them :  for  nothing  under  the 
sun  may  long  abide,  but  all  is  vanity  and  affliction  of  spirit. 
O  how  wise  is  he  that  feeleth  and  understandeth  this ! 

Give  me,  Lord,  heavenly  wisdom,  that  I  may  learn  to 
seek  Thee  and  to  find  Thee,  and  above  all  things  to  love 
Thee,-  and  to  understand  and  know  all  other  things  as  they 
be,  after  the  order  of  Thy  wisdom  and  none  otherwise.  Give 
me  grace  also  wisely  to  withdraw  me  from  them  that  flatter 
me,  and  patiently  to  suffer  them  that  grieve  me;  for  it  is 
great  wisdom  not  to  be  moved  with  every  blast  of  words, 
nor  to  give  ear  to  him  that  flattereth,  as  doth  the  mermaid. 
The  way  that  is  thus  begun  shall  bring  him  that  walketh  in 
it  to  a  good  and  blessed  ending. 


MY  SON,  saith  our  Saviour  Christ,  thou  shalt  not  take  it 
to  grief,  because  some  persons  think  evil  of  thee,  or 
say  of  thee  that  thou  dost  not  gladly  hear;  for  thou 
shalt  yet  think  worse  of  thyself,  and  that  no  man  is  so  evil 
as  thou  art.  If  thou  be  well  ordered  inwardly  thou  shalt  not 
much  care  for  such  flying  words.  It  is  no  little  wisdom  for  a 
man  to  keep  himself  in  silence  and  in  good  peace,  when  evil 
words  be  spoken,  and  to  turn  his  heart  to  God,  and  not  to 
be  troubled  with  man's  judgment. 

Let  not  thy  peace  be  in  the  hearts  of  men;  for  whatso 
ever  they  say  of  thee,  good  or  bad,  thou  art  not  therefore 


another  man:  but  as  thou  art,  thou  art. Where  are  the  true 
peace  and  glory?  Are  they  not  in  Me?  Yes,  truly.  Therefore 
he  that  neither  desireth  to  please  man,  nor  dreadeth  to  dis 
please  him,  shall  have  great  plenty  of  peace;  for  of  inordi 
nate  love  and  vain  dread  cometh  all  unquietness  of  heart 
and  unrestfulness  of  mind. 



JORD,  Thy  Name  be  blessed  for  ever,  that  wouldst  that 
this  temptation  and  tribulation  should  fall  upon  me! 

•  I  may  not  escape  it;  but  of  necessity  I  am  driven  to  flee 
to  Thee,  that  Thou  vouchsafe  to  help  me,  and  to  turn  all 
into  ghostly  profit.  O  Lord,  I  am  now  in  trouble,  and  it  is 
not  well  with  me,  for  I  am  greatly  vexed  with  this  present 
passion.  And  now,  most  beloved  Father,  what  shall  I  say? 
I  am  now  taken  with  anguishes  and  troubles  on  every  side. 
Save  me  in  this  hour.  Yet  I  trust  that  I  am  come  into  this 
hour  that  Thou  mightest  be  lauded  and  praised  when  I  am 
made  perfectly  meek  before  Thee,  and  clearly  delivered  by 
Thee.  Be  it  therefore  pleasing  to  Thee  to  deliver  me;  for 
what  may  I,  most  sinful  wretch,  do,  or  whither  may  I  go 
without  Thee?  Give  me  patience  now  in  all  my  troubles. 
Help  me,  my  Lord  God,  and  I  shall  not  fear  or  dread  what 
troubles  soever  fall  upon  me. 

And  now  what  shall  I  say,  but  that  Thy  will  be  done  in 
me?  I  have  deserved  to  be  troubled  and  grieved,  and  there 
fore  it  behoveth  that  I  suffer  as  long  as  it  shall  please  Thee. 
Would  to  God  that  I  might  suffer  gladly  till  the  furious 
tempests  were  overpast,  and  quietness  of  heart  were  come 
again!  Thy  mighty  hand,  Lord,  is  strong  enough  to  take 
this  trouble  from  me,  and  to  assuage  the  cruel  assaults 
thereof,  so  that  I  do  not  utterly  fail;  for  thus  hast  Thou  oft- 
times  done  to  me  before  this  time.  The  more  hard  it  is  to  me, 


the  more  light  it  is  to  Thee.  And  when  I  am  delivered  by 
Thee,  then  shall  I  say :  This  is  the  changing  of  the  right  hand 
of  Him  that  is  Highest/  that  is/  of  the  Blessed  Trinity,  to 
Whom  be  joy,  honour,  and  glory  everlastingly.  Amen. 


MY  SON,  I  am  the  Lord,  that  sendeth  comfort  in  time  of 
tribulation.  Come  therefore  to  Me,  when  it  is  not  well 
with  thee.  This  it  is  that  letteth  thee  most,  that  thou 
turnest  thee  over  slowly  to  Me ;  for  before  thou  pray  heartily 
to  Me,  thou  seekest  many  other  comforts,  and  refreshest 
thy  spirits  in  outward  things.  And  therefore  all  that  thou 
dost  little  availeth  thee,  till  thou  canst  behold  and  see  that 
I  am  He  that  sendeth  comfort  to  all  that  faithfully  do  call 
to  Me,  and  that  there  is  not  without  Me  any  profitable 
counsel  or  perfect  remedy.  But  now  take  a  good  spirit  to 
thee,  and  after  thy  troubles  be  thou  comforted  in  Me,  and 
in  the  light  of  My  Mercy  have  thou  full  trust;  for  I  am  near 
to  thee  to  help  thee,  and  to  restore  thee  again,  not  only  to 
like  grace,  as  thou  hadst  first,  but  also  to  much  more,  and 
in  great  abundance. 

Is  there  anything  hard  or  impossible  to  Me?  Or  am  I  like 
to  him  that  sayeth  a  thing,  and  doth  it  not?Where  is  thy 
faith?  Stand  strongly  and  perseverantly  in  Me.  Be  steadfast, 
abiding  My  promise,  and  thou  shalt  have  comfort  in  such 
time  as  shall  be  most  expedient  for  thee.  Abide,  abide,  and 
tarry  for  Me,  and  I  shall  come  soon  and  help  thee.  It  is 
temptation  that  vexeth  thee,  and  a  vain  dread  that  feareth 
thee  much.  But  what  availeth  such  fear  of  dread  for  things 
that  perchance  will  never  come,  but  that  the  ghostly  enemy 
would  that  thou  shouldst  have  sorrow  upon  sorrow.  Bear 
therefore  patiently  thy  troubles  that  be  present,  and  dread 


not  over  much  those  that  are  to  come,  for  sufficient  unto 
the  day  is  the  evil  thereof.  It  is  a  vain  thing  and  unprofitable 
to  be  heavy  or  glad  for  things  that  perchance  will  never 

But  it  is  the  unstableness  of  man  that  he  is  deceived,  and 
that  he  so  lightly  follows  the  suggestion  of  the  enemy,  who 
careth  not  whether  he  deceive  thee  by  true  suggestions  or 
by  false;  whether  it  be  by  love  of  things  present,  or  by  dread 
of  things  to  come.  Therefore  be  thou  not  troubled,  neither 
dread;  but  trust  strongly  in  Me,  and  in  My  mercy  have 
perfect  hope;  for  when  thou  weenest  that  thou  art  right  far 
from  Me,  ofttimes  I  am  right  near  unto  thee,  and  when  thou 
weenest  that  all  is  lost,  then  ofttimes  followeth  the  greater 
reward.  All  is  not  therefore  lost,  though  something  happen 
against  thy  will;  for  thou  shalt  not  judge  therein  after  thy 
outward  feeling.  Neither  shalt  thou  take  any  grief  so  sore 
to  heart,  but  that  thou  shalt  have  good  trust  to  escape  it. 

Think  not  thyself  wholly  forsaken  of  Me,  though  I  send 
thee  for  a  time  some  heaviness  and  trouble,  for  this  is  the 
surer  way  to  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  And  doubtless  it  is 
more  expedient  to  thee  and  to  other  of  My  servants,  that 
ye  sometimes  be  proved  with  adversity,  than  that  ye  always 
have  all  things  after  your  wits.  I  know  the  hidden  thoughts 
of  man,  and  that  it  is  much  expedient  to  the  health  of  the 
soul  that  she  be  left  sometimes  to  herself  without  ghostly 
favour  or  comfort,  lest  haply  she  be  raised  up  into  pride, 
and  think  herself  better  than  she  is.  That  I  have  given,  I  may 
take  away,  and  may  restore  it  again  when  it  listeth  Me. 

When  I  give  a  thing  to  any  person  it  is  Mine  own  that 
I  have  given,  and  when  I  take  it  away  again,  I  take  none  of 
his,  for  every  good  gift  and  every  perfect  reward  cometh  of 
Me.  If  I  send  to  thee  trouble  or  heaviness,  in  what  wise 
soever  it  be,  take  it  gladly  and  disdain  it  not;  neither  let  thy 
heart  fail  thee  therein,  for  I  may  anon  lift  thee  up  again,  and 
turn  thy  heaviness  into  great  joy  and  ghostly  gladness.  And 


verily,  I  am  righteous  and  much  to  be  lauded  and  praised 
when  I  do  so  with  thee. 

If  thou  understand  aright,  and  behold  thyself  truly  as 
thou  art,  thou  shalt  never  be  so  heavy  for  any  adversity, 
but  thou  shalt  rather  joy  therein,  and  think  it  the  greatest 
gift,  that  I  spare  not  to  scourge  thee  with  such  trouble  and 
adversity.  As  the  Father  hath  loved  me,  so  have  I  loved  you, 
I  said  to  My  disciples;  and  yet  I  sent  them  not  forth  into  the 
world  to  have  temporal  joys,  but  to  have  great  battles;  not 
to  have  honours,  but  despites;  not  to  be  idle,  but  to  labour; 
not  to  rest,  but  to  bring  forth  much  good  fruit  in  patience 
and  good  works.  My  son,  remember  \vell  these  words  that 
I  have  spoken  to  thee,  for  they  are  true  and  cannot  be  denied. 


,  I  have  great  need  of  Thy  grace,  or  that  I  may  come 
thither  where  no  creature  shall  let  or  hinder  me  from 
perfect  beholding  of  Thee;  for  as  long  as  any  tran 
sitory  thing  holdeth  me,  or  hath  rule  in  me,  I  may  not  fly 
freely  to  Thee.  He  coveted  to  fly  without  let  that  said  thus : 
Oh  that  I  had  wings  like  a  dove!  for  then  would  I  fly  into 
the  bosom  of  my  Saviour,  and  into  the  holes  of  His  Blessed 
Wounds,  and  be  at  rest.  I  see  well  that  no  man  is  more 
restful  or  more  liking  in  this  world,  than  is  that  man  who 
always  hath  his  mind  and  whole  intent  upward  to  God, 
and  nothing  desireth  of  the  world.  It  behoveth  him  there 
fore  that  would  perfectly  forsake  himself  and  behold  Thee, 
to  surmount  all  creatures  and  himself  also;  and  through 
excess  of  mind  to  see  and  behold  that  Thou,  Maker  of  all 
things,  hast  nothing  among  all  creatures  like  unto  Thee. 
Unless  a  man  be  clearly  delivered  from  the  love  of  creatures, 
he  may  not  fully  tend  to  his  Creator.  And  this  is  the  great 
est  cause  why  there  be  so  few  contemplatives,  because  so 


few  there  be  that  will  willingly  sequester  themselves  from 
the  love  of  creatures. 

To  contemplation  is  great  grace  required,  for  it  lifteth  up 
the  soul  and  ravisheth  it  up  in  spirit  above  itself.  And  except 
a  man  be  lifted  up  in  spirit  above  himself,  and  be  delivered 
in  his  love  from  all  creatures,  and  be  perfectly  united  to 
God;  whatsoever  he  can,  or  whatsoever  he  hath  either  in 
virtue  or  cunning,  it  is  but  little  worth  afore  God.  Therefore 
he  shall  have  but  little  virtue,  and  long  shall  he  lie  still  in 
earthly  things,  that  accounteth  anything  great  or  worthy 
to  be  praised,  but  God  alone;  for  all  other  things  besides 
God  are  nought,  and  for  nought  are  to  be  accounted.  There 
is  a  great  difference  between  the  wisdom  of  a  devout  man 
lightened  by  grace,  and  the  cunning  of  a  subtle  and  studious 
clerk.  That  learning  is  much  more  noble  and  much  more 
worthy  that  cometh  by  the  influence  and  gracious  gift  of 
God,  than  that  which  is  gotten  by  the  labour  and  study  of 

Many  desire  to  have  the  gift  of  contemplation,  but  they 
will  not  use  such  things  as  be  required  to  contemplation. 
One  great  let  of  contemplation  is  that  we  stand  so  long  in 
outward  signs  and  in  sensible  things,  and  take  no  heed  of 
perfect  mortifying  our  body  to  the  spirit.  I  wot  not  how  it 
is,  by  what  spirit  we  be  led,  nor  what  we  pretend,  we  that 
be  called  spiritual  persons,  that  we  take  greater  labour  and 
study  for  transitory  things  than  we  do  to  know  the  inward 
state  of  our  own  soul. 

Alas  for  sorrow!  anon  as  we  have  made  a  little  recollec 
tion  to  God  we  run  forth  to  outward  things,  and  do  not 
search  our  own  conscience  with  due  examination,  as  we 
should  do.  We  heed  not  where  our  affection  resteth,  and  we 
sorrow  not  that  our  deeds  be  so  evil  and  so  unclean  as  they 
be.  The  people  corrupted  themselves  with  fleshly  unclean- 
ness;  and  therefore  followed  the  great  flood.  Verily,  when 
our  inward  affection  is  corrupted,  it  is  necessary  that  our 


deeds  following  thereupon  be  also  corrupted;  for  from  a 
clean  heart  springeth  the  fruit  of  a  good  life. 

It  is  ofttimes  asked  what  deeds  such  a  man  hath  done; 
but  of  what  zeal,  of  what  intent  he  did  them,  is  little  re 
garded.  It  is  oft  inquired  whether  a  man  be  rich,  strong,  fair, 
able,  a  good  writer,  a  good  singer,  or  a  good  labourer;  but 
how  poor  he  is  in  spirit,  how  patient  and  meek,  how  devout, 
and  how  inwardly  turned  to  God,  is  little  regarded.  Nature 
holdeth  the  outward  deed,  but  grace  turneth  her  to  the  in 
ward  intent  of  the  deed.  The  first  is  oft  deceived,  but  the 
second  putteth  her  trust  wholly  in  God,  and  is  not  deceived. 


MY  SON,  saith  our  Lord,  thou  shalt  not  have  perfect 
liberty  of  mind,  unless  thou  wholly  forsake  thyself. 
All  proprietaries,  and  all  lovers  of  themselves,  all 
covetous  persons,  curious,  vain-glorious,  all  runners  about, 
and  such  as  seek  things  soft  and  delectable  in  this  world,  and 
not  those  of  Jesus  Christ,  oft  saying  and  greedily  seeking 
that  which  will  not  long  endure,  be  as  men  fettered  and 
bound  with  chains,  and  have  no  perfect  liberty  or  freedom 
of  spirit;  for  all  things  shall  perish  that  be  not  wrought  of 
God.  Hold  well  in  thy  mind  this  short  word:  Forsake  all 
things  and  thou  shalt  find  all  things;  forsake  covetise  and 
thou  shalt  find  great  rest.  Print  well  in  thy  mind  that  I  have 
said,  for  when  thou  hast  fulfilled  it,  thou  shalt  well  know 
that  it  is  true. 

Lord,  this  lesson  is  not  one  day's  work,  nor  a  play  for  chil 
dren;  for  in  it  is  contained  the  full  perfection  of  all  religion. 

My  son,  thou  oughtest  not  to  be  turned  from  God,  nor 
to  be  anything  discouraged  from  His  service,  when  thou 
hearest  the  strait  life  of  perfect  men;  but  rather  thou  ought 
est  to  be  provoked  thereby  to  higher  perfection,  and  at  least 


to  desire  in  heart  that  thou  mightest  come  thereto.  But 
would  to  God  thou  were  first  come  to  this  point,  that  thou 
were  not  a  lover  of  thyself,  but  that  thou  wouldst  keep  My 
commandments,  and  the  commandments  of  him  that  I  have 
appointed  to  be  thy  father  spiritual;  for  then  thou  shouldst 
please  Me  greatly,  and  all  thy  life  should  pass  forth  in  joy 
and  peace.  Thou  hast  yet  many  things  to  forsake,  which, 
unless  thou  canst  wholly  forsake,  thou  shalt  not  get  that 
thou  desirest.  And  therefore  I  counsel  thee  to  buy  of  me 
gold  tried  in  the  fire,  that  is  to  say,  heavenly  wisdom,  that 
despiseth  all  earthly  things.  Cast  from  thee  all  worldly  wis 
dom,  all  man's  comfort,  and  all  thine  own  affections;  choose 
also  to  have  vile  and  abject  things,  rather  than  those  that  are 
precious  and  high  in  the  sight  of  the  world. 

The  true  heavenly  wisdom  -seemeth  to  many  to  be  vile 
and  little,  and  well-nigh  forgotten.  Many  can  say  with  their 
mouth  that  it  is  good  not  to  desire  to  be  magnified  in  the 
world,  but  their  life  followeth  not  their  saying.  But  yet  it  is 
the  precious  margaret  and  the  high  virtue  that  is  hid  from 
much  people  for  their  presumption. 

Get  it  whoso  may. 


Y  s  0  N ,  look  thou  believe  not  thine  own  affection,  for  it 
changeth  oft  from  one  to  another.  As  long  as  thou 

O  u 

livest  thou  shalt  be  subject  to  changeableness,  whether 
thou  wilt  or  not:  now  glad,  now  sorrowful;  now  pleased, 
now  displeased;  now  devout,  now  undevout;  now  lusty, 
now  slothful;  now  heavy,  now  lightsome.  But  a  wise  man, 
that  is  well  taught  in  ghostly  travail,  standeth  stable  in  all 
such  things,  and  forceth  little  what  he  feeleth,  or  on  what 
side  the  wind  of  unstableness  bloweth;  for  the  whole  intent 
and  study  of  his  mind  is,  how  he  may  profit  most  in  virtue, 


and  come  finally  to  the  most  fruitful  and  most  blessed  end. 
By  such  a  whole  intent  fully  directed  to  God,  a  man  may 
abide  steadfast  and  stable  in  himself  among  many  adver 

The  more  pure  and  the  more  clean  is  his  intent,  the  more 
stable  shall  he  be  in  every  storm.  But  alas  for  sorrow!  the 
eye  of  man's  soul  is  anon  darkened,  for  it  beholdeth  lightly 
delectable  things  that  come  of  the  world  and  of  the  flesh. 
Insomuch  that  there  is  seldom  found  any  person  that  is  free 
and  clear  from  the  venomous  desire  of  hearing  tales  or  other 
fantasies;  and  that  by  their  own  seeking.  In  such  manner 
came  the  Jews  into  Bethany  to  Martha  and  to  Mary  Mag 
dalen,  not  for  the  love  of  our  Lord  Jesus,  but  to  see  Lazarus, 
whom  He  had  raised  from  death  to  life.  Wherefore  the  eye 
of  the  soul  is  to  be  kept  full  bright,  that  it  be  always  pure 
and  clean,  and  that  it  be  above  all  passing  things  wholly 
directed  to  Me. 

The  which  grant  unto  us,  O  Lord.  Amen. 



IJJR  Lord  God  is  to  me  all  in  all!  And  sith  He  is  so, 
what  would  I  have  more,  or  what  can  I  desire  more? 
O  this  is  a  savoury  word  and  a  sweet,  to  say  that  our 
Lord  is  to  me  all  in  all !  But  it  is  to  him  that  loveth  the  Word 
and  not  the  world.  To  him  that  understandeth  this  word,  is 
said  enough;  but  yet  to  repeat  it  oft  is  liking  to  him  that 
loveth.  I  may  therefore  more  plainly  speak  of  this  matter, 
and  say :  Lord,  when  Thou  art  present  to  me  all  things  are 
pleasant  and  liking,  but  when  Thou  art  absent  all  things  are 
grievous  and  greatly  misliking.When  Thou  comest  Thou 
makest  mine  heart  restful,  and  bringest  into  it  a  new  joy. 
Thou  makest  Thy  lover  to  feel  and  understand  the  Truth, 
and  to  have  a  true  judgment  in  all  things,  and  in  all  things  to 


laud  and  praise  Thee.  O  Lord,  without  Thee  nothing  may 
be  for  long  liking  or  pleasant;  for  if  anything  should  be 
liking  or  savoury,  it  must  be  through  help  of  Thy  grace,  and 
be  tempered  with  the  spicery  of  Thy  wisdom. 

To  him  to  whom  Thou  savourest  well,  what  shall  not 
savour  well?  And  to  him  that  Thou  savourest  not  well  unto, 
what  may  be  joyful  or  liking?  But  worldly-wise  men,  and 
they  that  savour  the  delights  of  the  flesh,  fail  of  this  wis 
dom;  for  in  worldly  wisdom  is  found  great  vanity,  and  in 
fleshly  pleasures  is  everlasting  death.  Therefore,  they  that 
follow  Thee,  Lord,  by  despising  of  the  world,  and  by  per 
fect  mortifying  of  the  lusts  of  the  flesh,  are  known  to  be  very 
wise;  for  they  be  led  from  vanity  to  Truth,  and  from  fleshly 
liking  to  spiritual  cleanness.  To  such  persons  God  savoureth 
wondrous  sweet,  and  whatsoever  they  find  in  creatures,  they 
refer  it  all  to  the  laud  and  praising  of  the  Creator;  for  they 
see  well,  that  there  is  great  difference  betwixt  the  Creator 
and  creatures,  eternity  and  time,  and  betwixt  the  light  made 
and  the  light  unmade. 

O  everlasting  Light!  far  passing  all  things  that  are  made, 
send  down  the  beams  of  Thy  lightings  from  above,  and 
purify,  glad,  and  clarify  in  me  all  the  inward  parts  of  my 
heart.  Quicken  my  spirit  with  all  the  powers  thereof,  that  it 
may  cleave  fast  and  be  joined  to  Thee  in  joyful  gladness  of 
ghostly  ravishings.  O  when  shall  that  blessed  hour  come 
that  Thou  shalt  visit  me  and  glad  me  with  Thy  blessed  pres 
ence,  so  that  Thou  be  to  me  all  in  all?  As  long  as  that  gift  is 
not  given  to  me,  that  Thou  be  to  me  all  in  all,  there  shall  be 
no  full  joy  in  me.  But  alas  for  sorrow!  mine  old  man,  that  is, 
my  fleshly  liking,  yet  liveth  in  me,  and  is  not  yet  fully  cruci 
fied,  nor  perfectly  dead  in  me;  for  yet  striveth  the  flesh 
strongly  against  the  spirit,  and  moveth  great  inward  battle 
against  me,  and  suffereth  not  the  kingdom  of  my  soul  to 
live  in  peace. 

But  Thou,  good  Lord,  that  hast  the  lordship  over  all  the 


power  of  the  sea,  and  rulest  the  raging  thereof,  arise  and 
help  me,  break  down  the  power  of  mine  enemies,  who  always 
move  this  battle  in  me.  Shew  the  greatness  of  Thy  goodness, 
and  let  the  power  of  Thy  right  hand  be  glorified  in  me;  for 
there  is  to  me  none  other  hope  or  refuge,  but  in  Thee  only, 
my  Lord,  my  God! 

To  Whom  be  joy,  honour,  and  glory  everlastingly.  Amen. 



u  R  Lord  sayeth  to  His  servant  thus :  Thou  shalt  never 
be  sure  from  temptation  and  tribulation  in  this  life. 
And  therefore  armour  spiritual  shall  always,  as  long 
as  thou  livest,  be  necessary  for  thee.  Thou  art  among  thine 
enemies,  and  shalt  be  troubled  and  vexed  by  them  on  every 
side ;  and  unless  thou  use  in  every  place  the  shield  of  patience, 
thou  shalt  not  long  keep  thyself  unmoved.  And  over  that, 
if  thou  set  not  thy  heart  strongly  in  Me,  with  a  ready  will  to 
suffer  all  things  patiently  for  Me,  thou  mayest  not  long  bear 
this  ardour,  nor  come  to  the  reward  of  blessed  Saints.  It  be- 
hoveth  thee  therefore  manly  to  pass  over  many  things,  and 
to  use  a  strong  hand  against  all  the  thwartings  of  the  enemy. 
To  the  overcomer  is  promised  Angel's  Food,  and  to  him 
that  is  overcome  is  left  much  misery. 

If  thou  seek  rest  in  this  life,  how  then  shalt  thou  come  to 
the  rest  everlasting?  Set  not  thyself  to  have  rest  here,  but  to 
have  patience,  and  seek  soothfast  rest  not  in  earth  but  in 
heaven;  not  in  man,  or  any  creature,  but  in  God  only,  where 
it  is.  For  the  love  of  God  thou  oughtest  to  suffer  gladly  all 
things,  that  is  to  say,  all  labours,  sorrows,  temptations,  vexa 
tions,  anguishes,  neediness,  sickness,  injuries,  evil  sayings, 
reprovings,  oppressions,  confusions,  corrections,  and  despis- 
ings.  These  help  a  man  greatly  to  virtue,  these  prove  the 
true  knight  of  Christ,  and  make  ready  for  him  the  heavenly 


crown.  And  I  shall  yield  him  everlasting  reward  for  this 
short  labour/  and  infinite  glory  for  this  transitory  confusion. 

Trowest  thou  that  thou  shalt  have  always  spiritual  com 
forts  after  thy  will?  Nay,  nay;  My  Saints  had  them  not, 
but  many  great  griefs,  and  divers  temptations,  and  great 
desolations,  but  they  bore  all  with  great  patience,  and  more 
trusted  in  Me  than  in  themselves :  for  they  knew  v/ell  that 
the  sufferings  of  this  present  time  are  not  worthy  to  be  com 
pared  with  the  glory  which  shall  be  revealed  in  us.  Wilt  thou 
look  to  have  anon  that  which  others  could  not  get  but  with 
great  weepings  and  labours? Wait  on  the  Lord;  be  of  good 
courage,  and  he  shall  strengthen  thy  heart;  wait,  I  say,  on 
the  Lord;  mistrust  Him  not;  and  go  not  back  from  His  serv 
ice  for  pain  or  for  dread:  but  lay  forth  thy  body  and  soul 
constantly  to  His  honour  in  all  good  bodily  and  ghostly 
labours.  And  he  shall  reward  thee  again  most  plenteously 
for  thy  good  travail,  and  He  shall  be  with  thee  and  help 
thee  in  every  trouble  that  shall  befall  unto  thee. 

So  may  it  be.  Amen. 


y  s  o  N  ,  fix  thy  heart  steadfastly  in  God,  and  dread  not 
the  judgments  of  man,  when  thine  own  conscience 
witnesseth  thee  to  be  innocent  and  clear.  It  is  right 
good  and  blessed  sometimes  to  suffer  such  sayings,  and  it 
shall  not  be  grievous  to  a  meek  heart,  which  trusteth  more 
in  God  than  in  himself.  Many  folk  can  say  many  things,  and 
yet  little  faith  is  to  be  given  to  their  sayings.  But  to  please  all 
men  it  is  not  possible.  For  though  St.  Paul  laboured  all  that 
he  might  to  have  pleased  all  people  in  God,  and  did  to  all 
men  all  that  he  could  for  their  salvation,  yet  nevertheless  he 
could  not  help  but  that  he  was  sometime  judged  of  other. 

He  did  for  the  edifying  and  health  of  other  as  much  as 
in  him  was,  but  that  he  should  not  sometime  be  judged  of 


other,  or  be  despised  of  other,  he  could  not  let;  wherefore  he 
committed  all  to  God  that  knoweth  all  things,  and  armed 
himself  with  patience  and  meekness  against  all  things  that 
might  be  untruly  spoken  against  him.  Nevertheless  some 
times  he  answered  again,  lest  by  his  silence  hurt  or  hindrance 
might  have  grown  to  others. 

What  art  thou  then  that  dreadst  so  sore  a  mortal  man? 
This  day  he  is,  and  to-morrow  he  appeareth  not.  Dread  God, 
and  thou  shalt  not  need  to  dread  man.  What  may  man  do 
with  thee  in  words  or  injuries?  He  hurteth  himself  more 
than  thee;  and  in  the  end  he  shall  not  flee  the  judgment  of 
God,  whatsoever  he  be.  Have  always  God  before  the  eye  of 
thy  soul,  and  strive  not  again  by  multiplying  of  words.  And 
if  thou  seem  for  a  time  to  suffer  confusion  that  thou  hast  not 
deserved,  disdain  thou  not  therefor,  nor  through  impatience 
minish  thy  reward.  But  rather  lift  up  thy  heart  to  God  in 
heaven,  for  He  is  able  to  deliver  thee  from  all  confusion  and 
wrongs,  and  to  reward  every  man  after  his  desert,  and  much 
more  than  he  can  deserve. 


Y  SON,  saith  our  Lord,  forsake  thyself,  and  thou  shalt 
find  Me.  Stand  without  following  of  thine  own  will, 
and  without  all  property,  and  thou  shalt  much  profit 
in  grace;  and  if  thou  wholly  resign  thyself  into  My  hands, 
and  take  nothing  to  thee  again,  thou  shalt  have  the  more 
grace  of  Me. 

O  Lord,  how  oft  shall  I  resign  me  unto  Thee,  and  in  what 
things  shall  I  forsake  myself? 

Always  and  in  every  hour,  in  great  things  and  in  small. 
I  except  nothing,  for  in  all  things  I  will  to  find  thee  naked, 
and  very  poor,  and  void  of  thine  own  will.  Else  how  mayest 


thou  be  Mine,  and  I  thine,  unless  thou  be  clearly  bereft  of 
thine  own  will,  within  and  without?  The  sooner  thou  canst 
bring  it  about,  so  much  the  sooner  shall  it  be  better  with 
thee;  and  the  more  perfectly  and  the  more  clearly  thou  canst 
do  it,  the  more  fully  shalt  thou  please  Me,  and  the  more 
shalt  thou  win. 

Some  persons  resign  themselves  unto  Me,  but  it  is  with 
some  exception,  for  they  trust  not  fully  to  Me,  and  there 
fore  they  study  to  provide  for  themselves.  And  some  at  the 
beginning  offer  themselves  to  Me,  but  after,  when  any 
temptation  cometh,  they  soon  turn  again  to  their  own  will 
and  to  that  which  they  promised  to  forsake;  therefore  they 
profit  little  in  virtue.  Truly  such  persons  shall  never  come 
to  perfect  cleanness  and  freedom  of  heart,  nor  to  the  grace 
of  familiarity  with  Me,  but  through  a  perfect  forsaking  of 
themselves  and  through  a  daily  offering  of  themselves  and 
all  that  they  have  wholly  to  Me;  for  without  this  no  man 
may  have  perfect  fruition  and  uniting  with  Me. 

I  have  said  to  thee  many  times  before,  and  yet  I  say  to 
thee  again:  Forsake  thyself,  and  resign  thyself  wholly  to 
Me,  and  thou  shalt  have  great  inward  peace  in  Me.  Give 
all  for  all,  and  nothing  keep  to  thyself  of  thine  own  will,  but 
stand  purely  and  stably  in  Me,  and  thou  shalt  have  Me,  and 
thou  shalt  be  so  free  in  heart  and  in  soul,  that  neither  dark 
ness  of  conscience  nor  thraldom  of  sin  shall  ever  have  power 
in  thee.  Endeavour  thyself  therefore  to  get  this  freedom  of 
spirit  that  I  speak  of,  pray  for  it,  study  for  it,  and  always 
desire  in  thy  heart  that  thou  mayest  clearly  be  spoiled  and 
bereft  of  all  property  and  of  thine  own  will,  so  that  being 
naked  of  all  worldly  things  thou  mayest  follow  Me  that 
hung  naked  for  thee  upon  the  cross :  also  that  in  thy  love 
thou  mayest  die  to  thyself  and  to  all  worldly  things,  and 
blessedly  live  to  Me.  If  thou  do  thus,  then  all  vanities,  all 
fantasies,  all  superfluous  cares  of  the  world  and  of  the  flesh 
shall  fail,  and  fade,  and  go  away.  Then  also  immoderate 


dread  and  inordinate  love  shall  die  in  thee,  and  thou  shalt 
blessedly  live  in  Me  and  I  in  thee.  Amen. 


u  R  Lord  Jesu  sayeth  to  His  servant  thus :  Thou  ought- 
est  to  take  heed  diligently  that  in  every  place,  in  every 
deed,  and  in  every  outward  occupation  that  thou  dost, 
thou  be  inwardly  free  in  thy  soul,  and  have  the  rule  over 
thyself,  and  that  all  things  be  under  thee,  and  not  thou 
under  them;  that  thou  be  lord  and  governor  over  thy  deeds, 
not  a  servant  or  a  bond-man;  but  rather  free  as  a  true  He 
brew,  and  going  into  the  number  and  into  the  freedom  of 
the  children  of  God,  who  stand  upon  things  present  and 
look  towards  things  everlasting,  who  behold  things  transi 
tory  with  their  left  eye,  and  things  everlasting  with  their 
right  eye;  whom  worldly  goods  cannot  draw  down  to  the 
love  of  them,  but  who  rather  draw  worldly  goods  to  serve 
in  such  wise  as  they  be  ordained  of  God,  and  as  they  be 
instituted  to  do  by  the  high  Maker  of  all  things,  Who  leaveth 
nothing  inordinate  in  His  creatures. 

Also,  if  in  every  adventure  and  doubt  that  shall  happen 
unto  thee,  thou  stand  not  to  the  judgment  of  thy  outward 
appearance,  but  anon  enterest  into  thine  own  soul  by  de 
vout  prayer,  as  Moses  did  into  the  Tabernacle  to  ask  counsel 
of  God,  thou  shalt  hear  anon  the  answer  of  our  Lord,  which 
shall  instruct  thee  sufficiently  in  many  things  both  present 
and  to  come.  It  is  read  that  Moses  had  always  recourse  to 
the  tabernacle  of  God  for  the  solving  of  doubts  and  ques 
tions,  and  that  he  there  asked  the  help  of  God  through 
devout  prayer,  for  the  perils  and  dangers,  as  well  of  himself 
as  of  the  people.  So  shouldst  thou  enter  into  the  secret 
tabernacle  of  thine  own  heart,  and  there  ask  inwardly  with 


good  devotion  the  help  of  God  in  all  such  doubts  and  perils. 
We  read  that  Joshua  and  the  children  of  Israel  were  deceived 
by  the  Gibeonites,  because  they  gave  light  credence  to  their 
sayings,  and  did  not  first  ask  counsel  of  God,  as  they  should 
have  done;  and  so  by  the  fair  \vords  of  the  Gibeonites,  and 
through  false  pity,  Joshua  and  the  children  of  Israel  were 
illuded  and  greatly  deceived. 


MY  SON,  saith  our  Lord,  commit  always  thy  cause  to 
Me,  and  I  shall  well  dispose  it  for  thee,  when  the  time 
shall  come.  Abide  Mine  ordinance  and  direction,  and 
thou  shalt  find  thereby  great  profit  and  help. 

O  Lord,  gladly  will  I  commit  all  things  to  Thee,  for  it  is 
little  that  I  can  do  for  myself. Would  to  God  that  I  did  not 
cleave  to  desires  of  worldly  things,  but  that  I  might  always 
offer  myself  wholly  to  Thy  will  and  pleasure. 

So  it  is  good  for  thee  to  do,  My  son,  for  oftentimes  a  man 
that  trusteth  much  in  himself  and  in  his  own  will,  setteth 
his  mind  to  bring  about  this  thing  or  that,  as  he  desireth;  but 
when  he  has  attained  to  what  he  desired,  he  beginneth  then 
to  feel  towards  it  all  otherwise  than  he  did  before :  for  the 
affections  and  desires  of  men  are  not  always  one,  but  oft 
drive  a  man  from  one  thing  to  another.  It  is  therefore  no 
small  thing  for  a  man  fully  to  forsake  himself,  though  it  be 
in  right  little  things. 

For  truly,  the  very  perfection  of  man  is  a  perfect  denying 
and  a  full  forsaking  of  himself.  And  such  a  man  is  very  free 
and  beloved  of  God.  But  the  old  enemy  the  fiend,  who 
resisteth  goodness  all  that  he  may,  ceaseth  not  long  from 
temptation,  but  day  and  night  he  maketh  grievous  assaults 
to  see  if  he  may  catch  any  unwary  person  in  his  snare  of 
deceit.  Watch  and  pray,  that  ye  enter  not  into  temptation. 


ORD,  what  is  man,  that  thou  art  mindful  of  him?  Or  what 
hath  he  done  for  Thee  that  Thou  shouldst  visit  him 
with  grace?  Of  what  may  I  complain,  though  Thou 
sometimes  forsake  me?  Or  what  may  I  righteously  say, 
though  Thou  grant  me  not  that  I  ask?  Truly,  I  may  well 
think  and  say  thus :  I  am  nought;  of  myself  I  have  no  good 
ness;  but  in  all  things  I  am  of  myself  all  insufficient  and  tend 
to  nought.  And  unless  I  be  holpen  of  Thee,  and  be  inwardly 
informed  and  taught  by  Thee,  I  shall  be  altogether  slothful 
and  to  all  things  unprofitable. 

O  Lord, Thou  art  always  One,  ever  shalt  be  One;  always 
good,  always  righteous  and  holy;  doing  all  things  well, 
righteously,  and  blessedly;  disposing  all  things  after  Thy 
Wisdom.  But  I,  wretch,  that  am  always  more  ready  and 
prone  to  evil  than  to  good,  I  am  not  always  abiding  in  one, 
for  seven  times  be  changed  upon  me !  Nevertheless,  it  will 
be  better  with  me  when  it  shall  please  Thee  to  put  forth  Thy 
helping  hand;  for  Thou  alone  art  He  that  without  man's 
aid  mayest  help  me,  and  so  confirm  and  stable  me  in  Thee, 
that  mine  heart  shall  not  lightly  be  changed  from  Thee,  but 
be  wholly  fixed  in  Thee,  and  finally  rest  in  Thee. 

Verily  if  I  could  cast  away  from  me  all  man's  comfort, 
either  to  get  devotion,  or  because  of  necessity  I  am  com 
pelled  thereto  (for  that  I  find  no  comfort  in  man),  then 
might  I  well  trust  in  Thy  grace  to  have  of  Thee  new  visita 
tions  and  new  heavenly  consolation. 

But  I  confess  it  for  truth,  that  I  am  unworthy  to  have 
any  such  consolations,  and  I  thank  Thee  as  oft  as  any  good 
thing  cometh  to  me,  for  all  that  is  good  cometh  of  Thee. 
I  am  but  vanity  and  nought  before  Thee,  an  inconstant  man 
and  a  feeble.  Whereof  then  may  I  righteously  glorify  myself, 
or  why  should  I  look  to  be  magnified?  Truly  vain  glory  is  a 


perilous  sickness,  a  grievous  pestilence,  and  a  right  great 
vanity;  for  it  draweth  a  man  from  the  true  joy  that  he  should 
have  in  God,  and  robbeth  him  clearly  of  all  heavenly  grace. 
For  when  a  man  pleaseth  himself,  he  displeaseth  Thee,  and 
when  he  delighteth  in  man's  praisings,  he  is  deprived  of  true 

True  steadfast  joy  and  gladness  is  to  joy  in  Thee  and  not 
in  himself;  in  Thy  name  and  not  in  his  own  virtue  or  in  any 
creature.  Therefore  Thy  Name  be  praised,  and  not  mine; 
Thy  works  be  magnified,  and  not  mine;  let  Thy  goodness 
be  always  blessed,  but  to  me  let  nothing  be  given  of  the  laud 
and  praising  of  man.  Thou  art  my  glory  and  the  joy  of  my 
heart.  In  Thee  I  will  glory  and  will  joy  always;  but  in  my 
self  I  will  glory  in  nothing  but  in  my  infirmities. 

Let  the  Jews  seek  glory  among  themselves,  but  I  will  seek 
none  but  that  is  of  Thee  alone.  For  all  man's  glory,  all  tem 
poral  honour,  and  all  worldly  highness  to  Thy  eternal  glory 
compared,  is  but  foolishness  and  a  great  vanity.  O  Truth! 
O  Mercy!  O  Blessed  Trinity!  to  Thee  be  laud,  honour, 
and  glory  everlastingly.  Amen. 


|Y  SON,  take  it  not  to  grief,  though  thou  see  other  men 
honoured  and  exalted,  and  thyself  despised  and  set 
at  nought.  If  thou  raise  up  thine  heart  to  Me  in  heav 
en,  the  despites  of  man  on  earth  shall  little  grieve  thee. 

O  Lord,  we  are  here  in  great  darkness  and  are  soon  de 
ceived  with  vanities.  Verily  if  I  beheld  myself  well,  I  should 
openly  see  that  there  was  never  any  wrong  done  to  me  by 
any  creature,  nor  have  I  anything  whereof  I  may  righteously 
complain.  But  inasmuch  as  I  have  oft  sinned  and  grievously 
offended  against  Thee,  therefore  all  creatures  be  armed 
against  me.  To  me  therefore  is  due  confusion  and  despite; 
to  Thee  laud,  honour,  and  glory.  And  unless  I  can  bring 


myself  to  this  point/  that  I  would  gladly  be  despised  and 
forsaken  of  all  creatures,  and  utterly  to  seem  as  nought  in 
the  world,  I  may  not  be  inwardly  pacified  and  stablished  in 
Thee/  nor  be  spiritually  illumined/  nor  yet  fully  united  to 


Y  SON/  if  thou  set  thy  peace  in  any  person  for  thine 
own  pleasure  or  worldly  friendship/  thou  shalt  always 
be  unstable/  and  never  shalt  thou  be  contented;  but 
if  thou  always  have  recourse  to  the  Truth  everlasting/  that 
is  God  Himself/  then  the  death  or  going  away  of  thy  dearest 
friend/  whatsoever  he  be/  shall  little  grieve  thee.  The  love 
of  thy  friend  ought  always  to  be  referred  to  Me;  and  for 
Me  he  is  to  be  beloved,  how  good  and  how  profitable  soever 
he  seem  unto  thee  in  this  life.  Without  Me  friendship  is 
nought  worth,  and  may  not  long  endure ;  nor  is  that  love  true 
and  clean  that  is  not  knit  by  Me.  Thou  oughtest  therefore 
to  be  so  mortified  in  all  such  affections  of  worldly  men,  that, 
inasmuch  as  in  thee  is,  thou  wouldst  covet  to  be  without  all 
man's  comfort. 

So  much  a  man  draweth  nearer  to  God,  as  he  can  with 
draw  himself  from  the  world  and  from  all  worldly  comforts; 
and  so  much  higher  he  ascendeth  to  God,  as  he  can  descend 
lower  in  himself,  and  can  wax  vile  and  abject  in  his  own 

He  that  ascribeth  any  goodness  to  himself,  withstandeth 
the  grace  of  God.  and  letteth  it  to  live  in  him;  for  the  srace 

<J  I  I  O 

of  the  Holy  Ghost  seeketh  always  a  meek  and  humble  heart. 
If  thou  couldst  perfectly  annihilate  thyself,  and  wholly  put 
out  of  thy  heart  all  human  and  create  love/  then  should  I 
dwell  in  thee  with  great  abundance  of  My  grace.  But  when 
thou  lookest  to  creatures/  then  is  righteously  drawn  from 


thee  the  sight  of  the  Creator.  Learn  therefore  to  overcome 
thyself  for  the  love  of  Him  that  made  thee  like  to  Himself, 
and  thou  shalt  anon  come  to  great  ghostly  knowledge.  How 
little  soever  the  thing  be  that  a  man  loveth,  if  he  love  it 
inordinately,  it  hindereth  and  letteth  him  greatly  from  the 
true  and  perfect  love  that  he  should  have  to  God. 



Y  SON,  saith  our  Lord,  let  not  fair  and  subtle  words 
move  thee,  for  the  kingdom  of  God  is  not  in  word,  but 
in  power.  Take  heed  to  My  words,  for  they  inflame 
the  heart,  and  lighten  the  understanding;  they  bring  also 
compunction  of  heart  for  sins  past,  and  ofttimes  cause  great 
heavenly  comfort  suddenly  to  come  into  the  soul.  Never 
read  in  any  science  to  the  intent  thou  wouldst  be  called  wise, 
but  study  rather  to  mortify  in  thee  all  stirrings  of  sins,  and 
that  shall  be  more  profitable  to  thee  than  the  knowledge  of 
many  hard  and  subtle  questions. 

When  thou  hast  read  and  understood  many  doubts,  yet 
nevertheless  it  behoveth  thee  to  come  to  One  Who  is  the 
beginning  of  all  things,  God  Himself;  or  else  thy  knowledge 
shall  little  avail  thee.  I  am  He  that  teacheth  a  man  cunning, 
and  do  give  more  understanding  to  meek  persons,  than  can 
be  taught  by  man's  teaching.  He  to  whom  I  speak  shall  soon 
be  made  wise;  and  much  shall  he  profit  in  spirit,  when  pain 
and  woe  shall  be  to  them  that  only  seek  for  curious  learn 
ing,  taking  little  heed  to  the  way  of  serving  God.  The  time 
will  come  when  Christ,  Lord  of  Angels,  and  Master  of  all 
masters,  shall  appear  to  hear  the  lesson  of  every  creature, 
that  is,  to  examine  the  conscience  of  every  person.  And  then 
shall  Jerusalem,  that  is,  man's  soul,  be  searched  with  lanterns 
and  lights  of  God's  high  knowledge  and  rightful  judgments. 
Then  also  shall  be  made  open  the  deeds  and  thoughts  of 
every  man;  all  excuses  and  vain  arguments  shall  cease  and 
be  utterly  set  apart. 


I  am  He  also  that  suddenly  illumine  and  lift  up  a  meek 
soul,  so  that  it  shall  be  made  able  in  short  time  to  take  and 
to  receive  the  true  reason  of  the  Wisdom  of  God  more  per 
fectly,  than  another  that  studieth  ten  years  in  Schools  and 
lacketh  meekness.  I  teach  without  sound  of  words,  without 
diversity  of  opinions,  without  desire  of  honour,  and  with 
out  strife  of  arguments.  I  am  He  that  teach  all  to  despise 
earthly  things,  to  loathe  things  that  be  present,  to  seek  and 
to  savour  eternal  things,  to  flee  honours,  to  bear  patiently 
all  evil  words  and  speakings,  to  put  their  trust  wholly  in 
Me,  nothing  to  covet  without  Me,  and  above  all  things 
burningly  to  love  Me. 

Some  folks,  through  an  inward  love  that  they  have  had 
to  Me,  have  learned  many  great  things,  and  have  spoken 
high  mysteries  of  My  Godhead.  They  profited  more  in  for 
saking  all  things  than  in  studying  high  and  subtle  learning. 
But  to  some  men  I  speak  common  things,  to  others  special 
things;  to  some  I  appear  sweetly  in  signs  and  figures,  to 
others  I  give  great  understanding  of  Scripture,  and  open  to 
them  high  secret  mysteries. 

There  is  in  books  one  voice  and  one  letter  that  is  read, 
but  it  informeth  not  all  alike;  for  I  am  within  secretly  hidden 
in  the  letter,  the  Teacher  of  Truth,  the  searcher  of  man's 
heart,  the  knower  of  thoughts,  the  promoter  of  good  works, 
and  the  rewarder  of  all  men,  after  as  My  Wisdom  and  Good 
ness  judgeth  them  to  have  deserved,  and  none  otherwise. 


Y  SON,  it  is  profitable  to  thee  to  be  ignorant  in  many 
things,  and  to  think  thyself  as  dead  to  the  world,  and 
one  to  whom  all  the  world  is  crucified.  Thou  must  also 
let  many  things  pass  with  a  deaf  ear,  as  if  thou  neither  heard 
them  nor  saw  them,  and  rather  to  think  on  such  things  as 


shall  cause  thee  an  inward  peace  of  soul.  It  is  also  more 
profitable  to  thee  that  thou  turn  the  eye  of  thy  soul  from 
things  that  displease  thee/  and  to  let  every  man  hold  the 
opinion  that  to  him  seemeth  best,  rather  than  to  strive  again 
with  f reward  words.  And  truly,  if  thou  were  well  stabled  in 
God,  and  beheld  His  judgments  aright,  thou  wouldst  be 
content  to  be  judged  of  other,  and  to  be  overcome  by  other, 
as  our  Lord  Jesus  was  for  thee  in  time  of  His  Passion. 

O  Lord !  what  shall  become  of  us  that  heed  worldly  things 
so  much,  and  beweep  so  greatly  a  little  temporal  loss?  We 
labour  and  run  for  worldly  profit  with  all  our  might,  but  our 
spiritual  profit  and  the  health  of  our  own  souls  we  little  re 
gard.  Such  a  thing  as  little  or  nothing  profiteth  us  is  much 
set  by;  but  that  which  is  most  necessary  to  us  is  nigh  for 
gotten.  Why?  Because  men  run  gladly  into  outward  things, 
and  unless  they  shortly  turn  back  again,  they  gladly  rest  in 
them.  The  which  shall  be  to  them  in  the  end  great  peril  and 


LD,  give  us  help  from  trouble:  for  vain  is  the  help  of 
man.  How  often  have  I  not  found  friendship,  where 
I  thought  I  should  have  found  it?  And  how  often 
have  I  found  it,  where  I  least  presumed  to  have  found  it? 
Wherefore  it  is  a  vain  thing  to  trust  in  man,  for  the  true 
and  soothfast  trust  and  health  of  righteous  men  is  in  Thee 
alone.  Blessed  therefore  be  Thou,  Lord,  in  all  things  that 
happen  unto  us ;  for  we  are  weak  and  unstable,  soon  deceived 
and  soon  changed  from  one  thing  to  another. 

Who  may  so  warily  and  so  assuredly  keep  himself  in 
everything,  as  not  to  fall  sometimes  into  some  deceit  or  into 
some  perplexity?  Truly  very  few.  But  he  that  trusteth  in 
Thee,  and  that  seeketh  Thee  with  a  clean  heart,  slideth  not 


so  lightly  from  Thee.  And  if  it  happen  him  to  fall  into  any 
trouble  or  perplexity,  what  soever  it  be  and  how  grievous 
soever  it  be,  he  shall  anon  either  be  delivered  by  Thee,  or 
be  comforted  by  Thee;  for  Thou  never  forsakest  him  that 
trusteth  in  Thee.  It  is  right  hard  to  find  so  true  and  faithful 
a  friend  that  will  persevere  with  his  friend  in  all  his  troubles; 
but  Thou,  Lord,  art  most  faithful  in  all  things,  and  like  to 
Thee  none  can  be  found. 

O  how  well  that  holy  soul  savoured  in  ghostly  things 
that  said  thus :  My  mind  is  stablished  in  God,  and  is  fully 
grounded  in  Christ.  Truly  if  it  were  so  with  me,  the  dread 
of  man  would  not  so  lightly  enter  into  me,  nor  would  other 
men's  words  so  soon  move  me.  Who  may  foresee  all  things? 
Or  who  may  prevent  all  evils  that  are  to  come?  And  if  things 
foreseen  ofttimes  do  great  hurt,  what  then  shall  those  things 
do  that  be  not  foreseen?  But  why  have  not  I,  wretch,  better 
seen  to  myself?  And  why  have  I  so  lightly  believed  other 
men's  sayings?  Truly  for  that  we  are  but  men,  and  but  frail 
men,  though  we  be  esteemed  and  thought  of  many  to  be  as 
Angels  in  our  conversation.  Whom  may  I  believe  but  only 
Thee?  Thou  art  the  Truth  that  deceivest  no  man;  nor  mayest 
Thou  be  deceived.  And  on  the  other  side,  every  man  is  a  liar, 
weak,  unstable,  and  sliding  most  especially  in  words;  so  that 
what  seemeth  openly  to  be  true  may  scarcely  be  believed. 

How  prudently  therefore  hast  Thou  warned  us  to  beware 
of  the  lightness  of  man,  and  also  that  our  familiar  servants 
may  be  our  enemies.  Hence,  though  one  should  say,  Lo, 
here  is  thy  friend;  or,  Lo,  there  is  thy  friend;  he  is  not  to  be 
believed,  as  mine  own  hurt  hath  taught  me.  Would  to  God 
it  might  be  as  a  warning  to  me,  and  not  to  my  more  folly! 

Some  one  says  to  me :  Beware,  beware,  keep  close  to  thy 
self  what  I  shall  shew  thee.  And  when  I  keep  it  close  and 
believe  it  to  be  secret,  he  cannot  be  secret  in  that  he  himself 
desired,  but  anon  betrayeth  both  himself  and  me,  and  goeth 
his  way.  From  such  tales  and  from  such  unstable  men  Lord 


defend  me,  that  I  fall  net  into  their  hands,  or  ever  commit 
any  such  thing!  A  true  and  a  stable  word.  Lord,  give  unto 
my  mouth,  and  a  deceitful  tongue  drive  far  away  from  me; 
for  that  I  would  not  have  done  to  myself,  I  ought  to  be  wary 
that  I  do  it  not  to  others. 

O  how  good  and  how  peaceful  it  is  to  keep  silence  of 
other  men's  words  and  deeds,  and  not  to  give  full  credence 
till  the  truth  be  tried;  not  to  report  lightly  to  other  all  that 
we  hear  or  see,  nor  to  open  our  heart  fully  but  to  very  few; 
always  to  seek  Thee,  Who  art  the  beholder  of  man's  heart, 
and  not  to  be  moved  with  every  flake  of  words,  but  to  desire 
in  heart  that  all  things  in  us  inwardly  and  outwardly  may 
be  fulfilled  after  Thy  Will.  How  sure  a  thing  is  it  also  for  the 
keeping  of  heavenly  grace  to  flee  the  conversation  of  worldly 
people  all  that  we  may,  and  not  to  desire  things  that  seem 
outwardly  to  be  pleasant  and  liking;  but  with  all  the  study 
of  our  heart  to  seek  such  things  as  bring  fervour  of  spirit  and 
amendment  of  life.  A  virtue  known  and  over-timely  praised 
hath  been  truly  a  great  hurt  to  many  persons;  and  contrari 
wise,  a  grace  kept  in  silence,  and  not  likely  reported  to 
others,  hath  been  in  this  frail  life,  that  is  full  of  temptation 
and  private  envy,  right  profitable  to  some. 


Y  SON,  saith  our  Lord,  stand  strongly,  and  trust  faith 
fully  in  Me.  What  be  words  but  words?  They  fly  in 
the  air,  but  they  hurt  not  a  stone  on  the  ground.  And 
if  thou  know  thyself  not  guilty,  think  that  thou  wilt  gladly 
suffer  such  words  for  God.  It  is  but  a  little  thing  for  thee  to 
suffer  sometimes  a  hasty  word,  sith  thou  art  not  yet  able  to 
suffer  hard  strokes.  But  why  is  it  that  so  little  a  thing  goeth 
so  nigh  thy  heart,  but  that  thou  art  yet  carnal,  and  heedest 
to  please  men  more  than  thou  shouldst?  And  because  thou 


dreadest  to  be  despised/  thou  wilt  not  gladly  be  reproved  for 
thine  offences,  and  therefore  searchest  busily  and  with  great 
study  how  thou  mayest  be  excused. 

But  behold  thyself  well,  and  thou  shalt  see  that  the  world 
yet  liveth  in  thee,  and  also  a  vain  love  to  please  man.  When 
thou  refusest  to  be  rebuked  and  punished  for  thy  defaults, 
it  appeareth  evidently  that  thou  art  not  soothfastly  meek, 
and  that  thou  art  not  yet  dead  to  the  world,  nor  the  world 
to  thee  yet  truly  crucified.  But  hear  My  words,  and  thou  shalt 
not  need  to  care  for  the  words  of  ten  thousand  men.  Lo,  if 
all  things  were  said  against  thee  that  could  be  most  mali 
ciously  and  untruly  feigned  against  thee,  what  would  they 
hurt,  if  thou  suffered  them  to  overpass  and  go  away?  Truly, 
no  more  than  a  straw  under  thy  foot.  Besides,  could  they 
take  from  thee  one  hair  of  thy  head?  No,  forsooth. 

He  that  hath  not  a  man's  heart  within  him,  nor  setteth 
God  before  the  eye  of  his  soul,  is  soon  moved  with  a  sharp 
word;  but  he  that  trusteth  in  Me,  and  will  not  stand  to  his 
own  judgment,  shall  be  free  from  all  man's  dread.  For  I  am 
the  Judge  that  knoweth  all  secrets;  I  know  how  everything 
is  done,  and  I  know  also  both  him  that  doth  the  wrong,  and 
him  to  whom  it  is  done.  Of  Me  this  thing  is  wrought,  and 
by  My  sufferance  it  is  come  about,  so  that  the  thoughts  of 
men's  hearts  may  be  known.  When  the  time  cometh  I  shall 
judge  both  the  innocent  and  him  that  is  guilty:  but  through 
this  My  righteous  examination  I  will  first  prove  them  both. 

The  witness  of  man  ofttimes  deceiveth,  but  My  judg 
ment  is  always  true,  and  shall  not  be  subverted.  Howbeit 
it  is  sometimes  hid,  and  known  but  to  few,  yet  it  is  ever  true, 
and  erreth  not;  neither  may  it  err,  though  in  the  sight  of 
some  persons  it  seemeth  not  right.  Therefore  in  every  doubt 
it  behoveth  thee  to  run  to  Me,  and  not  to  lean  much  on  thine 
own  judgment.  Be  content  with  everything  that  I  shall  send 
thee;  for  a  righteous  man  is  never  troubled  with  anything 
that  I  shall  suffer  to  fall  unto  him.  Insomuch  that  though  a 


thing  more  untruly  spoken  against  him,  he  would  not  care 
much  for  it.  Neither  would  he  much  joy  though  he  were 
sometimes  reasonably  excused;  for  he  thinketh  always  that 
I  am  HeWho  searcheth  man's  heart/  and  that  I  judge  not 
according  to  outward  appearance.  Indeed  ofttimes  it  shall 
be  found  in  My  sight  worthy  to  be  blamed/  that  in  man's 
sight  seemeth  much  worthy  to  be  praised. 

O  Lord  God/  most  righteous  judge/  strong  and  patient/ 
Who  knowest  the  frailty  and  malice  of  man/  be  Thou  my 
strength  and  whole  comfort  in  all  my  necessities;  for  mine 
own  conscience  sufh'ceth  me  not/  sith  Thou  knowest  in  me 
that  I  know  not.  Therefore  in  every  reproof  I  ought  always 
to  meeken  myself/  and  after  Thy  pleasure  patiently  to  suffer 
all  things  in  charity.  Forgive  me,  Lord/  as  oft  as  I  have  not 
so  done/  and  give  me  grace  of  great  sufferance  in  time  to 
come.  Thy  mercy  is  more  profitable  to  me/  and  a  more  sure 
way  to  the  getting  of  pardon  and  forgiveness  of  my  sins, 
than  a  trust  in  mine  own  works/  through  defence  of  my  dark 
conscience.  For  I  know  nothing  by  myself;  yet  am  I  not 
hereby  justified,  for,  Thy  mercy  removed  and  taken  away, 
no  man  may  be  justified  nor  appear  righteous  in  Thy  sight. 


MY  SON/  saith  our  Lord/  be  not  broken  by  impatience 
with  the  labour  that  thou  hast  taken  for  My  sake; 
nor  suffer  thou  tribulation  to  cast  thee  into  despair, 
or  into  unreasonable  anguish  in  anywise.  But  be  thou  com 
forted  and  strengthened  in  every  chance  by  My  promises 
and  behests;  for  I  am  able  and  of  power  to  reward  thee  and 
other  My  servants  abundantly  more  than  ye  can  think  or 
desire.  Thou  shalt  not  labour  long  here,  nor  always  be 
grieved  with  heaviness.  Tarry  awhile  My  promises,  and 


thou  shalt  shortly  see  an  end  of  all  thy  troubles.  An  hour 
shall  come  when  all  thy  labours  and  troubles  shall  cease. 
And  truly  that  hour  will  shortly  come,  for  all  is  short  that 
passeth  with  time. 

Do  therefore  as  thou  dost,  labour  busily  and  faithfully  in 
My  vineyard,  and  I  shall  shortly  be  thy  reward.  Write,  read, 
sing,  mourn,  be  still,  pray,  and  suffer  adversity  gladly,  for 
the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  more  worth  than  all  these  things, 
and  much  greater  things  than  they  are.  Peace  shall  come  one 
day  which  is  to  Me  known,  and  that  shall  not  be  the  day  of 
this  life  but  a  day  everlasting,  with  infinite  clearness,  stead 
fast  peace,  and  sure  rest  without  ending.  Then  thou  shalt 
not  say : Who  shall  deliver  me  from  the  body  of  this  death? 
Neither  shalt  thou  need  to  cry :  Woe  is  me,  that  my  coming 
to  the  kingdom  of  heaven  is  thus  prolonged!  For  death  shall 
then  be  destroyed,  and  health  of  body  and  soul  shall  be  with 
out  end;  insomuch  that  no  manner  of  unrestfulness  shall  be, 
but  blessed  joy,  and  sweetest  and  fairest  company. 

Oh !  if  thou  sawest  the  everlasting  crowns  of  My  Saints 
in  heaven,  in  how  great  joy  and  glory  they  are,  that  some 
time  seemed  to  be  vile  persons,  and  as  men  despisable  in  the 
world,  thou  wouldst  anon  meeken  thyself  low  to  the  ground, 
and  wouldst  rather  covet  to  be  subject  to  all  men,  than  to 
have  sovereignty  over  any  one  person.  Thou  wouldst  not 
desire  to  have  mirth  and  solace  in  this  world,  but  rather  trib 
ulation  and  pain,  and  thou  wouldst  account  it  as  a  great 
winning  to  be  despised  and  taken  as  nought  among  the 

O  if  these  things  savoured  well  to  thee,  and  deeply  pierced 
into  thy  heart,  thou  wouldst  not  once  dare  complain  for  any 
trouble  that  should  befall  unto  thee.  Are  not  all  painful 
things  and  most  grievous  labours  gladly  to  be  suffered  for 
the  joys  everlasting?  Yes,  verily,  for  it  is  no  little  thing  to 
win  or  lose  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  Lift  up  thy  face  therefore 
into  heaven,  and  behold  how  I  and  all  My  Saints  that  be 


with  Me  had  in  this  v/orld  great  battle,  and  now  they  joy  with 
Me  and  be  comforted  in  Me,  and  be  sure  of  abiding  with  Me 
in  the  kingdom  of  My  Father  without  ending.  Amen. 


OB  LESS  ED  mansion  of  the  Heavenly  City!  O  most 
clear  day  of  Eternity,  which  the  night  may  not  darken, 
but  the  high  Truth,  that  is  God,  illumineth  and  clear- 
eth.  Day  always  merry,  always  sure,  and  never  changing 
its  state  into  the  contrary.  Would  to  God  that  this  day  might 
once  appear  and  shine  upon  us,  and  that  these  temporal 
things  were  at  an  end.  This  blessed  day  shineth  to  Saints  in 
heaven  with  everlasting  brightness  and  clarity,  but  to  us 
pilgrims  on  earth  it  shineth  not  but  afar  off,  as  through  a 

The  heavenly  citizens  know  well  how  joyous  this  day  is: 
but  we  outlaws,  the  children  of  Eve,  do  weep  and  wail  the 
bitterness  and  tediousness  of  the  day  of  this  present  life, 
short  and  evil,  full  of  sorrows  and  anguishes;  where  a  man 
is  oftentimes  defiled  with  sin,  encumbered  with  passions, 
unquieted  with  dreads,  bounden  with  cares,  busied  with 
vanities,  blinded  with  errors,  overcharged  with  labours, 
vexed  with  temptations,  overcome  with  delights  of  the 
world,  and  sometimes  grievously  tormented  with  penury 
and  need. 

O  Lord,  when  shall  the  end  come  of  all  these  miseries? 
When  shall  I  be  delivered  from  the  bondage  of  sin?When, 
Lord,  shall  I  only  have  mind  on  Thee,  and  be  fully  made 
glad  and  merry  in  Thee? When  shall  I  be  free  without  let 
ting,  and  in  perfect  liberty  without  grief  of  body  and  soul? 
When  shall  I  have  solid  peace  without  trouble,  peace  within 
and  without,  on  every  side  steadfast  and  sure?  O  Lord  Jesu, 
when  shall  I  stand  and  behold  Thee,  and  have  full  sight  and 


contemplation  of  Thy  glory?When  wilt  Thou  be  to  me  all 
in  all?  And  when  shall  I  be  with  Thee  in  Thy  kingdom, 
which  Thou  hast  ordained  to  Thy  elect  people  from  the 
beginning?  I  am  left  here  poor  and  as  an  outlaw  in  the  land 
of  mine  enemies,  where  daily  be  battles  and  great  misfortunes. 

Comfort  my  exile,  assuage  my  sorrow,  for  all  my  desire 
crieth  to  Thee;  for  it  is  to  me  a  grievous  burden,  whatsoever 
the  world  offereth  me  here  to  my  solace.  I  desire  to  have 
inward  fruition  of  Thee,  but  I  cannot  attain  thereto.  I  covet 
to  cleave  fast  to  heavenly  things,  but  temporal  things  and 
passions  unmortin'ed  pull  me  away  downward.  In  mind  I 
would  be  above  all  temporal  things,  but  whether  I  will  or 
not,  I  am  compelled  through  mine  own  default  to  be  subject 
to  my  flesh.  Thus  I,  most  wretched  man,  fight  in  myself,  and 
am  made  grievous  to  myself,  whiles  my  spirit  desireth  to  be 
upward  and  my  flesh  downward. 

O  what  suffer  I  inwardly,  when  in  my  mind  I  behold 
heavenly  things,  and  anon  a  great  multitude  of  carnal 
thoughts  enter  into  my  soul?  Therefore,  O  God,  be  not  far 
from  me,  hide  not  thy  face  far  from  me;  put  not  thy  servant 
away  in  anger.  Send  to  me  the  lightning  of  Thy  grace,  and 
break  down  in  me  all  carnal  thoughts.  Send  forth  the  darts 
of  Thy  love,  and  break  therewith  all  fantasies  of  the  enemy. 
Gather  the  wits  and  powers  of  my  soul  together  in  Thee. 
Make  me  forget  all  worldly  things,  and  grant  me  to  cast 
away  and  wholly  to  despise  all  fantasies  of  sin.  Help  me, 
Thou  everlasting  Truth,  that  hereafter  no  worldly  vanity 
have  power  in  me.  Come  also,  Thou  heavenly  Sweetness, 
and  let  all  bitterness  of  sin  fly  far  from  me.  Pardon  me,  and 
mercifully  forgive  me,  when  I  think  in  my  prayer  of  any 
thing  but  of  Thee;  for  I  confess  for  truth  that  in  time  past 
I  have  used  myself  very  unstable  therein;  for  many  times  I 
am  not  there  where  I  stand  or  sit,  but  rather  I  am  there  where 
my  thoughts  lead  me.  There  I  am  where  my  thought  is,  and 
where  my  thought  is  accustomed  to  be,  there  is  that  which 


I  love.  And  that  ofttimes  cometh  into  my  mind,  that  by 
custom  pleaseth  me  best,  and  that  most  desireth  me  to 
think  upon. 

Wherefore  Thou  that  art  everlasting  Truth  sayest :  Where 
your  treasure  is/  there  will  your  heart  be  also.  Wherefore,  if 
I  love  heaven,  I  speak  gladly  of  heavenly  things,  and  of  such 
things  as  be  of  God.  If  I  love  the  world,  I  joy  anon  at  worldly 
felicity,  and  sorrow  anon  at  his  adversity.  If  I  love  the  flesh, 
I  imagine  ofttimes  that  which  pleaseth  the  flesh.  If  I  love 
my  soul,  I  delight  much  to  speak  and  to  hear  of  things  that 
be  to  my  soul-health.  And  so  whatsoever  I  love,  of  them  I 
gladly  hear  and  speak,  and  bear  the  images  of  them  oft 
in  my  mind.  Blessed  is  that  man  that  for  Thee,  O  Lord, 
forgetteth  all  creatures  and  learneth  truly  to  overcome  him 
self,  and  with  fervour  of  spirit  crucifieth  his  flesh;  so  that  in 
a  clean  and  pure  conscience  he  may  offer  his  prayers  to 
Thee,  and  (all  earthly  things  excluded  from  him  and  fully 
set  apart)  he  may  be  worthy  to  have  the  company  of  Blessed 
Angels.  Amen. 


MY  SON,  when  thou  feelest  that  a  desire  of  everlasting 
bliss  is  given  unto  thee,  and  thou  covetest  to  go  out  of 
the  tabernacle  of  thy  mortal  body  that  thou  mayest 
without  shadow  behold  My  clearness,  open  thine  heart,  and 
with  all  the  desires  of  thy  soul  take  thou  this  holy  inspira 
tion;  yielding  most  large  thanks  to  the  high  goodness  of 
God,  that  so  worthily  doth  to  thee,  so  benignly  visiteth  thee, 
so  burningly  stirreth  thee,  and  so  mightily  beareth  thee  up, 
that  through  thine  own  burden  thou  fall  not  down  to  earth 
ly  things.  Think  not  that  this  desire  cometh  of  thyself  or  of 
thine  own  working,  but  rather  that  it  cometh  of  the  gift  of 


grace  and  of  a  lovely  beholding  of  God  upon  thee;  that  thou 
shouldst  profit  thereby  in  meekness  and  virtue,  and  shouldst 
prepare  thee  also  to  be  ready  against  another  time  for  battles 
that  are  to  come;  that  thou  shouldst  more  surely  cleave  to 
Me  with  all  the  desire  and  affection  of  thy  heart,  and  study 
with  all  thy  power  how  thou  mayest  most  purely  and  most 
devoutly  serve  Me. 

Son,  take  heed  of  this  common  proverb :  The  fire  doth  oft 
burn,  but  the  flame  doth  not  ascend  without  smoke.  So  like 
wise  the  desire  of  some  men  draweth  to  heavenly  things,  and 
yet  they  are  not  all  free  from  the  smoke  of  carnal  affections. 
And  therefore  they  do  it  not  always  purely  for  the  honour 
and  love  of  God  that  they  ask  so  desirously  of  Him.  Such 
ofttimes  is  thy  desire,  that  thou  hast  shewn  to  be  so  impor 
tune.  For  the  desire  is  not  clean  and  perfect,  which  is  mixed 
with  thine  own  commodity. 

Ask  not  therefore  what  is  delectable  and  profitable  to 
thee,  but  what  is  acceptable  to  Me,  and  is  to  Mine  honour; 
for  if  thou  do  well  and  judge  aright,  thou  shalt  prefer  My 
ordinance  and  My  will  before  all  thy  desires,  and  before  all 
things  that  may  be  desired  beside  Me.  I  know  well  thy 
desire :  thou  wouldst  now  be  in  liberty  of  the  glory  of  the 
sons  of  God :  the  everlasting  home,  and  the  heavenly  country 
full  of  joy  and  glory,  now  delight  thee  much;  but  that  time 
cometh  not  yet,  for  there  is  yet  another  time  to  come,  that  is 
to  say,  a  time  of  labour  and  of  proof. 

Thou  desirest  to  be  fulfilled  with  the  highest  good  in 
heaven;  but  thou  mayest  not  yet  come  thereto.  I  am  the  fi'll 
reward  of  man;  abide  Me  till  I  come,  and  thou  shalt  have 
Me  to  thy  reward. 

Thou  art  yet  to  be  proved  here  upon  earth,  and  more 
thoroughly  to  be  assayed  in  many  things.  Some  comfort 
shall  be  given  to  thee,  but  the  fulness  thereof  shall  not  yet 
be  granted.  Be  thou  therefore  comforted  in  Me,  and  be  thou 
strong  as  well  in  doing  as  in  suffering  things  contrary  to  thy 


will.  It  behoveth  thee  to  be  clothed  with  the  new  man,  and 
to  be  changed  into  another  man.  Ofttimes  thou  must  do  that 
thou  wouldst  not  do,  and  that  thou  wouldst  do,  thou  must 
forsake  and  leave  undone.  That  shall  please  others  shall  go 
well  forward,  and  that  shall  please  thee  shall  have  no  speed. 
That  other  men  say  shall  be  well  heard,  and  that  thou  shalt 
say  shall  be  set  at  nought.  Others  shall  ask  and  have  their 
asking,  thou  shalt  ask  and  be  denied. 

Others  shall  be  great  and  have  the  laud  and  praise  of  the 
people,  but  of  thee  no  word  shall  be  spoken.  To  others  this 
office  or  that  shall  be  committed,  but  thou  shalt  be  judged 
unprofitable  in  everything.  For  these  and  other  like  things 
nature  will  murmur  and  grudge,  and  thou  shalt  have  a  great 
battle  in  thyself,  if  thou  bear  them  secret  in  thy  heart  with 
out  complaining  and  missaying.  Nevertheless  in  such  things, 
and  other  like,  My  faithful  servants  are  wont  to  be  proved 
how  they  can  deny  themselves,  and  how  they  can  in  all 
things  break  their  own  wills.  There  is  nothing  wherein  thou 
shalt  need  so  much  to  overcome  thyself,  as  to  learn  to  be 
contented  not  to  be  set  any  price  by  in  the  world,  and  to 
suffer  such  things  as  be  most  contrary  to  thy  will,  especially 
when  such  things  be  commanded  to  be  done  as  in  thy  sight 
seem  unprofitable. 

But,  my  son,  consider  well  the  profit  and  fruit  of  all  these 
labours,  the  speedy  end  and  the  great  reward;  and  thou  shalt 
feel  no  grief  or  pain  in  all  thy  labours,  but  the  sweetest  com 
fort  of  the  Holy  Ghost  through  thy  good  will.  And  for  that 
little  will  that  thou  forsakest  here,  thou  shalt  always  have 
thy  will  in  heaven,  where  thou  shalt  have  all  that  thou  canst 
or  mayest  desire.  There  shalt  thou  have  full  possession  of  all 
goodness,  without  dread  to  lose  it.  There  thy  will  shall  be 
ever  one  with  My  Will,  and  it  shall  covet  no  strange  nor 
private  things.  There  no  man  shall  resist  thee,  no  man  shall 
complain  of  thee,  no  man  shall  let  thee,  and  nothing  shall 
withstand  thee;  but  all  things  that  thou  canst  desire  shall  be 


there  present,  and  shall  fulfil  all  the  powers  of  thy  soul. 
There  shall  I  yield  glory  for  reproofs;  and  a  pall  of  laud  for 
thy  heaviness  of  soul;  and  for  the  lowest  place  here  a  seat  in 
heaven  for  ever.  There  shall  appear  the  fruit  of  obedience; 
the  labour  of  penance  shall  joy;  and  humble  subjection  shall 
be  crowned  gloriously. 

Bow  thee  therefore  meekly  now  under  every  man's  hand, 
and  force  little  who  saith  this,  or  who  commandeth  this  to 
be  done.  But  with  all  thy  study  take  heed  that  whether  thy 
prelate  or  thy  fellow,  or  any  other  lower  than  thou,  ask  any 
thing  of  thee,  or  will  anything  to  be  done  by  thee,  that  thou 
take  it  always  to  the  best,  and  with  a  glad  will  study  to  fulfil 
it.  Let  this  man  seek  this  thing,  and  another  that;  let  this 
man  joy  in  this  thing  and  another  in  that,  and  let  them  be 
lauded  and  praised  a  thousand  times;  but  joy  thou  neither 
in  this  thing  nor  in  that,  but  only  in  thine  own  despising,  and 
in  My  Will  to  be  fulfilled,  and  that  I  may  always,  whether  it 
be  by  life  or  death,  be  lauded  and  honoured  in  thee  and  by 
thee.  Amen. 


ORD,  holy  Father,  be  Thou  blessed  now  and  forever,  for 
as  Thou  wilt  so  it  is  done,  and  that  Thou  dost  is 
always  well.  Let  me,  Thy  poorest  servant  and  most 
unworthy,  joy  in  Thee  and  not  in  myself,  nor  in  anything 
else  beside  Thee;  for  Thou,  Lord,  art  my  gladness,  Thou 
art  my  hope,  my  crown,  my  joy,  and  all  my  honour.What 
hath  Thy  servant  but  that  he  hath  of  Thee,  and  that  without 
his  desert?  All  things  be  Thine.  I  am  afflicted  and  ready  to 
die  from  my  youth  up;  and  my  soul  hath  been  in  great  heavi 
ness  with  weeping  and  tears,  and  sometimes  it  hath  been 
troubled  in  itself  through  manifold  passions  that  come  of 
the  world  and  of  the  flesh. 


Wherefore,  Lord,  I  desire  that  I  may  have  of  Thee  the 
joy  of  inward  peace,  and  I  ask  for  the  repose  of  Thy  chosen 
children,  that  be  fed  and  nourished  of  Thee  in  the  light  of 
heavenly  comfort;  but  without  Thy  help  I  cannot  come 
thereto.  If  Thou,  O  Lord,  give  peace,  or  if  Thou  give  inward 
joy,  my  soul  shall  be  anon  full  of  heavenly  melody,  and  be 
devout  and  fervent  in  Thy  lauds  and  praisings;  but  if  Thou 
withdraw  Thyself  from  me,  as  Thou  hast  sometime  done, 
then  may  not  Thy  servant  run  the  way  of  Thy  command 
ments,  as  he  did  first;  but  he  is  then  compelled  to  bow  his 
knees  and  knock  his  breast,  for  it  is  not  with  him  as  it  was 
before,  when  the  lantern  of  Thy  ghostly  presence  shone  upon 
his  head,  and  he  was  defended  under  the  shadow  of  Thy 
mercy  from  all  perils  and  dangers. 

O  righteous  Father  ever  to  be  praised,  the  time  is  come 
that  Thou  wilt  Thy  servant  be  proved;  and  righteously  is 
it  done  that  I  now  suffer  somewhat  for  Thee !  Now  is  the 
hour  come  that  Thou  hast  known  from  the  beginning,  that 
Thy  servant  for  a  time  should  outwardly  be  set  at  nought, 
but  live  to  Thee  inwardly;  that  he  should  be  for  a  little 
despised  in  the  sight  of  the  world,  and  be  broken  with  pas 
sions  and  sickness,  that  he  might  after  rise  with  Thee  into 
a  new  light,  and  be  clarified,  and  made  glorious  in  the  king 
dom  of  heaven. 

O  Holy  Father,  Thou  hast  ordained  it  so  to  be,  and  it  is 
done  as  Thou  hast  commanded :  this  is  Thy  grace  to  Thy 
friend,  to  suffer  and  to  be  troubled  in  this  world  for  Thy 
love,  how  oft  soever  it  be,  of  what  person  soever  it  be,  and 
in  what  manner  soever  Thou  suffer  it  to  fall  unto  him. 
Without  Thy  counsel  and  providence,  and  without  cause, 
nothing  is  done  upon  earth.  It  is  good  for  me,  Lord,  that  I 
have  been  afflicted;  that  I  might  learn  thy  statutes,  and  put 
from  me  all  manner  of  presumption  and  highness  of  mind. 
And  it  is  very  profitable  to  me  that  confusion  hath  covered 
my  face,  that  I  may  learn  thereby  to  seek  for  help  and  sue- 


cour  to  Thee  rather  than  to  man.  I  have  thereby  learned  to 
dread  Thy  secret  and  terrible  judgments.  Who  scourgest  the 
righteous  man  with  the  sinner,  but  not  without  equity  and 

I  yield  thanks  to  Thee,  that  Thou  hast  not  spared  my 
sins,  but  hast  punished  me  with  scourges  of  love,  and  has 
sent  me  sorrows  and  anguishes  within  and  without;  so  that 
there  is  no  creature  under  heaven  that  may  comfort  me,  but 
Thou,  Lord  God,  the  heavenly  Leech  of  man's  soul,  for 
thou  scourgest,  and  thou  savest:  thou  leadest  down  to  hell, 
and  bringest  up  again;  that  he  may  thereby  learn  to  know 
the  littleness  of  his  own  power,  and  the  more  fully  to  trust 
in  Thee.  Thy  discipline  is  fallen  upon  me,  and  Thy  rod  of 
correction  hath  taught  me. 

Under  that  rod  I  wholly  submit  me,  beloved  Father; 
strike  my  back  and  bones  as  it  shall  please  Thee,  and  make 
me  to  bow  my  crooked  will  unto  Thy  Will;  make  me  a  meek 
and  humble  disciple,  as  Thou  hast  sometimes  done  with  me, 
that  I  may  walk  wholly  after  Thy  Will.  To  Thee  I  commit 
myself  and  all  mine  to  be  corrected,  for  better  it  is  to  be  cor 
rected  by  Thee  here  than  in  time  to  come.  Thou  knowest  all 
things,  and  nothing  is  hidden  from  Thee  that  is  in  man's 
conscience.  Thou  knowest  things  to  come  before  they  fall, 
and  it  is  not  needful  that  any  man  teach  Thee,  or  warn  Thee 
of  anything  that  is  done  upon  the  earth.  Thou  knowest  what 
is  speedful  for  me,  and  how  much  tribulation  helpeth  to 
purge  the  rust  of  sin  in  me :  do  with  me  after  Thy  pleasure, 
and  disdain  not  my  sinful  life,  to  none  so  well  known  as  it 
is  to  Thee. 

Grant  me  grace,  Lord,  that  to  know  that  is  necessary  to 
be  known,  that  to  love  that  is  to  be  loved,  that  to  praise  that 
highly  pleaseth  Thee,  that  to  regard  that  appeareth  precious 
in  Thy  sight,  and  that  to  refuse  that  is  vile  before  Thee. 
Suffer  me  not  to  judge  after  my  outward  wits,  nor  to  give 
sentence  after  the  hearing  of  uncunning  men;  but  in  true 


judgment  to  discern  things  visible  and  invisible,  and  above 
all  things  always  to  search  and  follow  Thy  will  and  pleasure. 
The  outward  wits  of  men  be  oft  deceived  in  their  judg 
ments;  and  in  like  wise  the  lovers  of  the  world  be  deceived 
through  loving  only  of  visible  things.  What  is  a  man  the 
better,  for  that  he  is  taken  to  be  greater  than  others?  Truly 
nothing.  For  a  deceitful  man  deceiveth  another,  a  vain  man 
deceiveth  another,  and  a  blind  and  feeble  creature  deceiveth 
another  when  he  exalteth  him,  and  rather  confoundeth  him 
that  praiseth  him.  For:  How  much  soever  a  man  be  in  the 
sight  of  God,  so  much  he  is  and  no  more,  how  holy  and  how 
virtuous  soever  he  be  taken  to  be  in  the  sight  of  the  people, 
saith  the  meek  St.  Francis. 



MY  SON,  thou  mayest  not  always  stand  in  the  high  fer 
vent  desire  of  virtue,  nor  in  the  highest  degree  of 
contemplation;  but  thou  must  of  necessity,  through 
the  corruption  of  the  first  sin,  sometime  descend  to  lower 
things,  and  to  bear  the  burden  of  this  corruptible  body, 
even  against  thy  will  and  with  great  tediousness.  For  as  long 
as  thou  bearest  this  body  of  death,  thou  must  need  feel  some 
tediousness  and  grief  of  heart.  Ofttimes  thou  shalt  beweep 
and  mourn  the  burden  of  the  flesh,  and  the  contradiction  of 
thy  body  to  the  soul ;  for  thou  mayest  not,  for  the  corruption 
thereof,  persevere  in  spiritual  studies  and  in  heavenly  con 
templation  as  thou  wouldst  do. 

Then  it  is  good  to  thee  to  fly  to  meek  bodily  labours  and 
to  exercise  thyself  in  good  outward  works;  in  a  steadfast 
hope  to  abide  My  coming  and  My  new  heavenly  visitation; 
to  bear  thy  exile  and  the  dryness  of  thy  heart  patiently,  till 


thou  be  visited  by  Me  again,  and  be  delivered  from  all  tedi- 
ousness  and  unquietness  of  mind.  When  I  come  I  shall  make 
thee  forget  all  thy  former  labours,  and  have  inward  rest  and 
quietness  of  soul.  I  shall  also  lay  before  thee  the  flourishing 
meadow  of  Holy  Scripture,  and  thou  shalt,  with  great  glad 
ness  of  heart,  and  with  new  and  blessed  feeling,  feel  the  very 
true  understanding  thereof,  and  then  thou  shalt  run  the  way 
of  My  commandments.  Then  shalt  thou  say  in  great  spiritual 
gladness :  The  sufferings  of  this  present  time  are  not  worthy 
to  be  compared  with  the  glory  which  shall  be  revealed  in 
us  in  the  bliss  of  heaven. 

To  the  which  bring  us,  Lord  Jesu.  Amen. 


ORD,  I  am  not  worthy  to  have  Thy  consolation,  nor  any 
spirtual  visitation,  and  therefore  Thou  dost  right- 
ieously  unto  me,  when  Thou  leavest  me  needy  and 
desolate/  for  though  I  might  weep  water  of  tears  like  to  the 
sea,  yet  were  I  not  worthy  to  have  Thy  consolation.  For  I  am 
worthy  to  have  nothing  but  sorrow  and  pain,  since  I  have  so 
grievously  and  so  oft  offended  Thee,  and  in  so  many  things 
greatly  trespassed  against  Thee.  Therefore  I  may  well  say 
and  confess  for  truth,  that  I  am  not  worthy  to  have  Thy  least 
consolation.  But  Thou,  Lord,  benign  and  merciful,  that  wilt 
not  Thy  works  to  perish,  to  shew  the  greatness  of  Thy  good 
ness  in  the  vessels  of  Thy  mercy,  dost  vouchsafe  sometimes 
to  comfort  me,  Thy  servant,  above  all  my  merits  or  desert, 
and  also  more  than  I  can  think  or  devise. 

Thy  consolations  be  not  like  to  men's  fables,  for  they  are 
in  themselves  soothfast.  But  what  have  I  done,  Lord,  that 
Thou  wilt  vouchsafe  to  give  me  any  heavenly  consolation? 


I  know  not  that  I  have  done  anything  well  as  I  should  have 
done,  but  that  I  have  been  prone  and  ready  to  sin  and  slow 
to  amendment.  This  is  true  and  I  cannot  deny  it;  for  if  I 
should  deny  it  Thou  wouldst  stand  against  me,  and  no  man 
might  defend  me.  What  have  I  then  deserved  but  hell  and 
everlasting  fire?  I  confess  for  truth  that  I  am  worthy  in  this 
world  of  shame  and  despite,  and  that  it  becometh  not  me  to 
be  conversant  with  devout  people.  And  though  it  be  grievous 
to  me  to  say  thus,  yet  (sith  the  truth  is  so)  I  will  confess  the 
truth  as  it  is,  and  openly  will  reprove  myself  of  my  defaults, 
that  I  may  the  rather  obtain  of  Thee  mercy  and  forgiveness. 

But  what  may  I  then  say,  Lord,  that  thus  am  guilty  and 
full  of  confusion?  Truly  I  have  no  mouth  nor  tongue  to 
speak,  but  only  this  word:  I  have  sinned,  Lord,  I  have 
sinned/  have  mercy  on  me,  forgive  me  and  forget  my  tres 
pass.  Let  me  alone,  that  I  may  take  comfort  a  little,  before  I 
go  whence  I  shall  not  return,  even  to  the  land  of  darkness 
and  the  shadow  of  death.  And  what  dost  Thou,  Lord,  ask 
most  of  such  a  wretched  sinner,  but  that  he  be  contrite  and 
meeken  himself  for  his  sin;  for  in  true  contrition  and  meek 
ness  of  heart  is  found  the  very  hope  of  forgiveness  of  sin, 
and  the  troubled  conscience  is  thereby  cleared,  and  the 
grace  before  lost  is  recovered  again.  Man  also  is  thereby 
defended  from  the  wrath  to  come,  for  Almighty  God  and 
the  penitent  soul  meet  lovingly  together  in  holy  kissings  of 
heavenly  love. 

A  meek  contrition  of  heart  is  to  Thee,  Lord,  a  right  ac 
ceptable  sacrifice,  more  sweetly  savouring  in  Thy  sight  than 
burning  incense.  It  is  also  the  precious  ointment,  that  Thou 
wouldst  should  be  shed  upon  Thy  blessed  feet,  for  a  broken 
and  a  contrite  heart,  O  God,  thou  wilt  not  despise.  This 
contrition  is  the  place  of  refuge  from  the  dread  and  wrath 
of  the  enemy,  and  thereby  is  washed  and  cleansed  whatso 
ever  is  before  misdone,  or  that  is  defiled  through  sin  in  any 


|  Y  s  0  N  ,  grace  is  a  precious  thing,  and  will  not  be  mixed 
with  any  private  love,  nor  with  worldly  comforts.  It 
behoveth  thee  therefore  to  cast  away  all  lettings  of 
grace,  if  thou  wilt  have  the  gracious  gift  thereof.  Choose 
therefore  a  secret  place,  love  to  be  alone,  keep  thee  from 
hearing  of  vain  tales;  and  offer  to  God  devout  prayers,  pray 
ing  heartily  that  thou  mayest  have  a  contrite  heart  and  a 
pure  conscience.  Think  all  the  world  as  nought,  and  prefer 
My  service  before  all  other  things,  for  thou  mayest  not  have 
mind  on  Me  and  therewithal  delight  thee  in  transitory 
pleasures.  It  behoveth  thee  therefore  to  withdraw  thee  from 
thy  dearest  friends  and  from  all  thine  acquaintance,  and 
to  sequester  thy  mind  wholly  from  the  inordinate  desire  of 
all  worldly  comfort,  as  much  as  thou  mayest.  Thus  St.  Peter 
prayed,  that  all  Christian  people  might  hold  themselves  as 
strangers  and  pilgrims  upon  earth,  for  then  they  would  set 
but  little  price  by  the  comfort  thereof. 

O  how  sure  a  trust  shall  it  be  to  a  man  at  his  departing 
out  of  this  world,  to  feel  in  his  soul  that  no  worldly  love,  nor 
yet  the  affection  of  any  passing  or  transitory  thing,  hath 
any  rule  in  him.  But  a  weak  person,  newly  turned  to  God, 
may  not  so  lightly  have  his  heart  severed  from  earthly  liking, 
nor  knoweth  the  carnal  man  the  freedom  of  one  that  is 
inwardly  turned  to  God.  Therefore  if  a  man  will  truly  be 
ghostly,  he  must  renounce  strangers  as  well  as  kinsfolk;  and 
before  all  other  he  must  be  wary  of  himself,  for  if  he  over 
come  himself  perfectly,  he  shall  the  sooner  overcome  all 
other  enemies.  The  most  noble  and  the  most  perfect  victory 
is  for  a  man  to  have  the  victory  of  himself. 

He  therefore  that  holdeth  himself  so  much  subject,  that 
the  sensuality  obeyeth  to  reason,  and  reason  in  all  things 
obeyeth  to  Me,  he  is  the  true  overcomer  of  himself  and  the 
Lord  of  the  world. 


But  if  thou  covet  to  come  to  that  point,  thou  must  begin 
manfully  and  set  thy  axe  to  the  root  of  the  tree,  and  fully  cut 
away  and  destroy  in  thee  all  the  inordinate  inclination  that 
thou  hast  to  thyself,  or  to  any  private  or  material  thing. 
For  of  that  vice  whereby  a  man  loveth  himself  inordinately, 
well-nigh  dependeth  all  that  ought  groundly  to  be  destroyed 
in  man.  And  if  that  be  truly  overcome,  anon  shall  follow 
great  tranquillity  and  peace  of  conscience.  But  for  as  much 
as  there  be  but  few  that  labour  to  die  to  themselves,  or  over 
come  themselves  perfectly,  therefore  they  lie  still  in  their 
worldly  comforts,  and  may  in  nowise  rise  up  in  spirit  above 
themselves;  for  it  behoveth  him  that  will  be  free  in  heart  and 
have  contemplation  of  Me,  to  mortify  all  the  evil  inclinations 
that  he  hath  to  himself  and  to  the  world,  and  not  to  be  bound 
to  any  creature  by  inordinate  or  private  love. 


|Y  SON,  take  good  heed  of  the  motions  of  nature  and 
grace;  for  they  be  very  subtle  and  much  contrary  the 
one  to  the  other,  and  hardly  may  they  be  known  asun 
der,  but  it  be  by  a  ghostly  man,  that  through  spiritual  grace 
is  inwardly  lightened  in  soul.  Every  man  desireth  some  good 
ness,  and  pretendeth  somewhat  of  goodness  in  all  his  words 
and  deeds;  therefore  under  pretence  of  goodness  many  be 

Nature  is  wily  and  draweth  many  to  her,  whom  she  often 
times  snareth  and  deceiveth,  and  ever  beholdeth  her  own 
wealth  as  the  end  of  her  work.  But  grace  walketh  simply,  she 
declineth  from  all  evil,  she  pretendeth  no  guile,  but  all  things 
she  doth  purely  for  God,  in  Whom  finally  she  resteth. 

Nature  will  not  gladly  die,  nor  be  oppressed  or  overcome; 
neither  will  she  gladly  be  under  others,  nor  be  kept  in  sub 
jection.  But  grace  studieth  how  she  may  be  mortified  to  the 


world  and  to  the  flesh.  She  resisteth  sensuality,  seeketh  to 
be  subject,  desireth  to  be  overcome,  and  will  not  use  her 
own  liberty.  She  loveth  to  be  holden  under  holy  discipline, 
and  coveteth  not  to  have  lordship  over  any  one  creature,  but 
to  live  and  stand  always  under  the  dread  of  God,  and  for 
His  love  to  be  always  ready  to  bow  herself  meekly  to  every 

Nature  laboureth  for  her  own  profit  and  advantage,  and 
much  beholdeth  what  winning  cometh  to  her  by  other.  But 
grace  beholdeth  not  what  is  profitable  to  herself,  but  what 
is  profitable  to  many. 

Nature  receiveth  gladly  honour  and  reverence;  but  grace 
referreth  all  honour  and  reverence  to  God. 

Nature  dreadeth  reprovings  and  despising.  But  grace 
joyeth  for  the  name  of  Jesus  to  suffer  them  both,  and  taketh 
them  when  they  come  as  special  gifts  of  God. 

Nature  loveth  idleness  and  bodily  rest.  But  grace  cannot 
be  idle  without  doing  some  good  deed,  and  therefore  she 
seeketh  gladly  some  profitable  labours. 

Nature  desireth  fair  things  and  curious,  and  abhorreth 
vile  things  and  gross.  But  grace  delighteth  in  meek  and 
simple  things,  she  despiseth  not  hard  things,  nor  refuseth  to 
be  clad  in  poor  old  clothing  and  simple  garments. 

Nature  beholdeth  gladly  things  temporal,  she  joyeth  at 
worldly  winnings,  is  heavy  for  worldly  losings,  and  anon 
is  moved  with  a  sharp  word.  But  grace  beholdeth  things 
everlasting  and  trusteth  not  in  things  temporal,  neither  is 
she  troubled  with  the  loss  of  them,  or  grieved  with  a  froward 
word;  for  she  hath  laid  her  treasure  in  God,  and  in  ghostly 
things  which  may  not  perish. 

Nature  is  covetous  and  more  gladly  taketh  than  giveth, 
loveth  much  to  have  property  and  private  things.  But  grace 
is  pitiful  and  liberal  to  the  poor,  flieth  private  profit,  is  con 
tent  with  little,  and  judgeth  it  more  blessed  to  give  than  to 

Nature  inclineth  to  the  love  of  creatures,  to  the  love  of 
the  flesh/  to  vanities,  and  to  runnings  about  to  see  new  things 
in  the  world.  But  grace  draweth  a  man  to  the  love  of  God 
and  of  virtue,  renounceth  all  creatures,  flieth  the  world, 
hateth  the  desires  of  the  flesh,  restraineth  the  liberty  of 
wandering  about,  and  as  much  as  she  may  escheweth  to  be 
seen  among  recourse  of  people. 

Nature  hath  gladly  some  outward  solace,  wherein  she 
may  feelingly  delight  in  her  outward  wits.  But  grace  only 
seeketh  to  be  comforted  in  God,  and  to  delight  her  in  His 
goodness  above  all  things. 

Nature  doth  all  things  for  her  own  winning  and  special 
profit;  she  doth  nothing  free,  but  hopeth  always  to  have  a 
like  profit  or  better,  or  at  least  the  laud  or  favour  of  the 
people;  for  she  coveteth  much  that  her  deeds  be  greatly 
pondered  and  praised.  But  grace  seeketh  no  temporal  thing, 
nor  any  other  reward  for  her  hire  but  only  God;  she  wills  no 
more  of  temporal  goods  than  she  shall  need  for  the  getting 
of  the  goods  everlasting,  and  careth  not  for  the  vain  praise 
of  the  world. 

Nature  joyeth  greatly  in  many  friends  and  kinsfolk,  is 
glorified  much  of  a  noble  place  of  birth,  and  of  her  noble 
blood  and  kindred;  she  joyeth  with  mighty  men,  flattereth 
rich  men,  and  is  merry  with  those  that  she  thinketh  like  to 
her  in  nobleness  of  the  world.  But  grace  maketh  a  man  to 
love  his  enemies;  for  she  hath  no  pride  in  worldly  friends, 
regardeth  not  the  nobleness  of  kin  or  the  house  of  her 
father,  but  if  the  more  virtue  be  there.  She  favoureth  more 
the  poor  than  the  rich,  she  hath  more  compassion  of  an 
innocent  than  of  a  mighty  man;  she  joyeth  ever  in  truth  and 
not  in  falsehood;  she  always  comforteth  good  men  to  profit 
more  and  more,  to  grow  in  virtue  and  goodness,  and  to  seek 
daily  higher  gifts  of  grace,  that  they  may  through  good 
works  be  made  like  to  the  Son  of  God. 

Nature  complaineth  anon  for  wanting  of  a  right  little 


thing  that  she  would  have,  or  for  a  little  worldly  heaviness. 
But  grace  beareth  gladly  all  neediness  of  this  world. 

Nature  inclineth  all  things  to  herself,  argueth  for  herself, 
striveth  and  fighteth  for  herself.  But  grace  rendereth  all 
things  to  God,  of  Whom  all  things  originally  do  spring  and 
flow/  she  ascribeth  no  goodness  to  herself,  nor  presumeth  of 
herself/  she  striveth  not,  nor  preferreth  her  opinion  before 
other  men's,  but  in  every  sentence  she  submitteth  herself 
meekly  to  the  eternal  wisdom  and  judgment  of  God. 

Nature  coveteth  to  know  secret  things,  and  to  hear  new 
things;  she  will  that  her  works  be  outwardly  shewn,  and  that 
she  have  experience  of  many  things  by  her  outward  wits; 
she  desireth  also  to  be  known,  and  to  do  great  things,  where- 
from  praising  may  follow.  But  grace  careth  not  for  any  new 
things,  or  for  curious  things,  whatsoever  they  be;  for  she 
knoweth  well  that  all  such  vanities  come  of  the  corruption 
of  sin,  and  that  no  new  thing  may  long  endure  upon  earth. 
She  teacheth  also  to  restrain  the  outward  wits,  and  to  eschew 
all  vain  pleasure  and  outward  show,  and  meekly  to  keep  those 
things  secret  v/hich  in  the  world  were  greatly  to  be  marvelled 
and  praised. 

In  everything  and  in  every  science  she  seeketh  some 
spiritual  profit  for  herself,  and  laud  and  honour  to  Almighty 
God.  She  will  not  that  her  good  deeds  nor  her  inward  devo 
tion  be  outwardly  known,  but  most  desireth  that  in  all  His 
works  our  Lord  be  blessed,  Who  of  His  high  excellent  charity 
freely  giveth  all  things. 

This  grace  is  a  light  supernatural,  and  a  spiritual  gift  of 
God,  and  it  is  the  proper  mark  and  token  of  the  elect  people, 
and  the  earnest-penny  of  the  ever-lasting  life;  for  it  ravish- 
eth  a  man  from  love  of  earthly  things  to  the  love  of  heavenly 
things,  and  of  a  fleshly  liver  maketh  a  heavenly  person.  And 
the  more  that  nature  is  oppressed  and  overcome,  the  more 
is  grace  given,  and  the  soul  through  new  gracious  visitations 
is  daily  reformed  more  and  more  to  the  image  of  God. 



LORD,  Who  hast  made  me  to  Thine  image  and  like 
ness,  grant  me  this  grace/  that  Thou  hast  shewed  to 
me  to  be  so  great  and  so  necessary  to  the  health  of  my 
soul,  that  I  may  overcome  this  wretched  nature/  which  al 
ways  draweth  me  to  sin/  and  to  the  losing  of  mine  own  soul. 
I  feel  in  my  flesh  the  law  of  sin  righting  strongly  against  the 
law  of  my  spirit/  and  leading  me  as  a  thrall  to  obey  sensuality 
in  many  things :  and  I  may  not  resist  the  passions  thereof, 
unless  Thy  grace  do  assist  me  therein. 

I  have  therefore  great  need  of  Thy  grace/  and  of  the  great 
abundance  of  Thy  grace,  if  I  would  overcome  this  wretched 
nature,  which  always  from  my  youth  hath  been  ready  to  sin. 
For  after  nature  was  vitiated  and  defiled  by  the  sin  of  the 
first  man  Adam/  the  pain  thereof  descended  into  all  his  pos 
terity/  so  that  nature/  which  in  the  first-created  was  good 
and  righteous/  is  now  taken  for  sin  and  corruption;  so  far 
forth/  that  the  motions  that  are  now  left  unto  nature  always 
draw  man  into  evil.  And  for  this  reason,  that  the  little  strength 
and  moving  to  goodness  yet  remaining  in  her  is  as  a  sparkle 
of  fire  that  is  hid  and  overhilled  with  ashes.  That  is  to  say/ 
the  natural  reason  of  man,  which  is  belapped  with  darkness 
of  ignorance,  hath  nevertheless  power  yet  to  judge  betwixt 
good  and  evil,  and  to  shew  the  diversity  betwixt  true  and 
false.  Howbeit  that  through  weakness  it  is  not  of  itself  able 
to  fulfil  all  that  it  approveth;  nor  sith  the  first  sin  of  Adam 
hath  it  the  full  light  of  truth/  or  the  sweetness  of  affections 
to  God/  as  it  had  first. 

Of  this  it  cometh/  most  merciful  Lord,  that  in  my  inward 
man/  that  is  in  the  reason  of  my  soul,  I  delight  in  Thy  laws 
and  in  Thy  teachings,  knowing  that  they  are  good  and  right 
eous  and  holy;  and  also  that  all  sin  is  evil  and  to  be  eschewed. 
Yet  in  my  outward  man,  that  is  to  say  in  my  flesh,  I  serve  the 


law  of  sin,  when  I  obey  sensuality  rather  than  reason.  Of 
this  it  followeth  that  I  will  good,  but  to  perform  it  without 
Thy  grace  I  may  not  for  weakness  of  myself.  Sometimes  I 
purpose  also  to  do  many  good  deeds,  but  for  that  grace 
wanteth  that  should  help  me/ 1  go  backward  and  fail  in  my 
doing.  I  know  the  way  to  perfection,  and  how  I  should  do 
I  see  evidently,  but  for  that  I  am  so  oppressed  with  the  heavy 
burden  of  this  corrupt  body  of  sin,  I  lie  still  and  rise  not  to 

O  Lord !  how  necessary  therefore  is  Thy  grace  to  me,  to 
begin  well,  to  continue  well,  and  to  end  well;  for  without 
Thee  I  may  nothing  do  that  good  is.  O  heavenly  grace,  come 
thou  shortly  and  help  me,  sith  without  thee  our  merits 
are  nought  worth,  and  the  gifts  of  nature  nothing  to  be 
pondered;  without  thee  neither  crafts  nor  riches  are  to  be 
anything  regarded,  and  neither  beauty,  nor  strength,  nor 
wit,  nor  eloquence,  may  avail  anything  in  the  sight  of  God. 
For  the  gifts  of  nature  are  common  to  good  men  and  to  bad, 
but  grace  and  love  are  the  gifts  of  the  chosen,  whereby  they 
be  marked  and  made  worthy  to  have  the  kingdom  of  heaven. 
This  grace  is  of  such  worthiness  that  neither  the  gift  of 
prophecy,  nor  the  working  of  miracles,  nor  yet  the  gift  of 
cunning  and  knowledge  may  anything  avail  without  her; 
nor  yet  be  faith,  hope,  or  other  virtues  acceptable  to  Thee 
without  grace  and  charity. 

O  most  blessed  grace !  that  makest  the  poor  in  spirit  to 
be  rich  in  virtue,  and  him  that  is  rich  in  worldly  goods  makest 
meek  and  low  in  heart,  come,  descend  into  my  soul,  and  fulfil 
it  with  thy  ghostly  comforts,  that  it  fail  not  nor  faint  for 
weariness  and  dryness  of  itself.  I  beseech  Thee,  Lord,  that 
I  may  find  grace  in  Thy  sight,  for  Thy  grace  shall  suffice  to 
me,  though  I  do  want  that  nature  desireth.  Although  I  be 
tempted  and  vexed  with  troubles  on  every  side,  yet  shall 
I  not  need  to  dread  whiles  Thy  grace  is  with  me;  for  she  is 
my  strength,  she  is  my  comfort,  and  she  is  my  counsel  and 

help;  she  is  stronger  than  all  mine  enemies,  and  wiser  than 
all  the  wisest  of  this  world. 

She  is  the  mistress  of  truth,  the  teacher  of  discipline,  the 
light  of  the  heart,  the  comfort  of  trouble,  the  driver  away 
of  heaviness,  the  avoider  of  dread,  the  nourisher  of  devotion, 
the  bringer  of  sweet  tears  and  devout  weepings.  What  am 
I  then  without  grace,  but  a  dry  stock  to  be  cast  away?  Grant 
me  therefore  that  Thy  grace  may  prevent  me,  and  follow 
me,  and  make  me  ever  busy  in  good  works  unto  my  death. 

So  may  it  be.  Amen. 


MY  s  0  N ,  as  much  as  thou  canst  go  out  of  thyself,  so  much 
mayest  thou  enter  into  Me.  And  as  to  desire  nothing 
outwardly  bringeth  peace  into  a  man's  soul,  so  by  an 
inward  forsaking  of  himself  a  man  joineth  himself  to  God. 
I  will  therefore  that  thou  learn  to  have  a  perfect  forsaking 
and  full  resigning  of  thyself  into  My  hands  without  with- 
saying  and  complaining.  Follow  Me :  for  I  am  the  way,  the 
truth,  and  the  life.  Without  a  way  no  man  may  go,  and  with 
out  the  truth  no  man  may  know,  and  without  life  no  man 
may  live.  I  am  the  Way  in  which  thou  oughtest  to  go,  the 
Truth  which  thou  oughtest  to  believe,  and  the  Life  for  which 
thou  oughtest  to  hope.  I  am  the  Way  that  cannot  be  defiled, 
the  Truth  which  cannot  be  deceived,  and  the  Life  that  never 
shall  have  an  end.  I  am  the  Way  most  straight,  the  Truth 
most  perfect,  and  the  Life  most  soothfast.  A  blessed  Life, 
and  a  Life  unmade  that  made  all  things.  If  thou  abide  in  My 
Way  thou  shalt  know  the  Truth,  and  Truth  shall  deliver 
thee,  and  thou  shalt  come  to  everlasting  Life. 

If  thou  wilt  come  to  that  Life,  keep  My  Commandments. 

If  thou  wilt  know  the  Truth,  believe  My  teachings. 

If  thou  wilt  be  perfect,  sell  all  that  thou  hast. 

If  thou  wilt  be  My  disciple,  forsake  thyself. 

If  thou  wilt  have  the  Blessed  Life,  despise  this  present  life. 

If  thou  wilt  be  exalted  in  heaven,  meek  thee  here  on  earth. 

If  thou  wilt  reign  with  Me,  bear  the  cross  with  Me;  for 
truly  only  the  servants  of  the  cross  shall  find  the  Life  of 
blessedness  and  of  everlasting  light. 

O  Lord  Jesu !  forasmuch  as  Thy  Way  is  narrow  and  is 
also  much  despised  in  the  world,  give  me  grace  to  bear  gladly 
the  despisings  of  the  world.  There  is  no  servant  greater  than 
his  Lord,  nor  any  disciple  above  his  Master.  Let  Thy  servant 
therefore  be  exercised  in  Thy  ways,  for  therein  is  the  health 
and  the  very  perfection  of  life;  whatsoever  I  read  or  hear 
beside  that  Way,  it  refresheth  me  not,  nor  delighteth  me 

My  son,  forasmuch  as  thou  knowest  these  things,  and 
hast  read  them  all,  thou  shalt  be  blessed  if  thou  fulfil  them. 
He  that  hath  my  commandments,  and  keepeth  them,  he  it 
is  that  loveth  me :  and  he  that  loveth  me  shall  be  loved  of 
my  Father,  and  I  will  love  him,  and  will  manifest  myself  to 
him,  and  will  make  him  sit  with  Me  in  the  kingdom  of  My 

Lord  Jesu,  as  Thou  hast  said  and  promised,  so  be  it  done 
to  me.  I  have  taken  the  cross  of  penance  at  Thy  hand,  and 
I  will  bear  it  unto  my  death,  as  Thou  hast  put  it  upon  me. 
For  the  life  of  every  good  man  is  the  cross,  and  it  is  also  the 
leader  to  paradise.  Now  it  is  begun,  it  is  not  lawful  for  me 
to  go  back  from  it,  nor  is  it  behoveful  for  me  to  leave  it. 

Have  done,  therefore,  my  well-beloved  brethren;  go  we 
forth  together;  Jesus  will  be  with  us.  For  Jesus  we  have 
taken  this  cross;  for  Jesus  let  us  persevere.  He  will  be  our 
help,  Who  is  our  guide  and  leader.  Lo,  our  King  goeth  be 
fore  us,  that  will  fight  for  us!  Follow  we  Him  manfully, 
dread  we  no  perils,  but  be  we  ready  to  die  strongly  in  battle; 
that  so  we  put  no  blot  upon  our  glory,  nor  minish  our  reward 
by  flying  cowardly  away  from  the  cross. 



Y  SON,  patience  and  meekness  in  adversity  please  Me 
more  than  much  consolation  and  devotion  in  pros 
perity.  Why  art  thou  so  heavy  for  a  little  word  said 
or  done  against  thee?  If  it  had  been  more/  thou  shouldst  not 
have  been  moved  therewith.  But  let  it  now  overpass;  it  is 
not  the  first,  and  it  shall  not  be  the  last,  if  thou  live  long. 
Thou  art  manful  enough  as  long  as  no  adversity  falleth  to 
thee;  and  thou  canst  well  give  counsel,  and  well  canst  thou 
comfort  and  strengthen  others  with  thy  words.  But  when 
adversity  knocketh  at  thy  door,  thou  failest  anon  both  of 
counsel  and  strength.  Behold  well  therefore  thy  great  frailty, 
of  which  thou  hast  daily  experience  in  little  objects.  Never 
theless  it  is  for  thy  ghostly  health  that  such  and  other  like 
things  are  suffered  to  come  unto  thee. 

Purpose  in  thy  heart  to  do  the  best  that  lieth  in  thee,  and 
then  when  such  tribulations  shall  happen  to  fall  unto  thee, 
although  it  grieve  thee,  yet  let  it  not  wholly  overthrow  thee, 
nor  let  it  long  tarry  with  thee.  At  the  least  suffer  it  patiently, 
although  thou  may  not  suffer  it  gladly.  Moreover,  though 
thou  be  loth  to  hear  such  things,  and  feelest  great  indigna 
tion  thereat  in  thy  heart,  yet  thrust  thyself  down  low  in 
thine  own  sight,  and  suffer  no  inordinate  word  to  pass  out 
of  thy  mouth,  whereby  another  might  be  hurt.  Then  all  such 
indignation  shall  be  soon  appeased  in  thee,  and  that  which 
before  was  taken  to  so  great  heaviness  to  thee  shall  anon  be 
made  sweet  and  pleasant  in  thy  sight.  For  yet  live  I,  saith  our 
Lord,  ready  to  help  thee  and  to  comfort  thee,  more  than 
ever  I  did  before,  if  thou  wilt  wholly  trust  in  Me,  and  de 
voutly  call  to  Me  for  help. 

Be  quiet  in  heart,  prepare  thyself  yet  to  more  sufferance. 
For  it  is  not  all  lost  though  thou  feel  thyself  oft  troubled  and 
grievously  tempted.  Think  that  thou  art  a  man  and  not  God; 


thou  art  flesh,  and  no  Angel.  How  mayest  thou  be  in  one 
state  of  virtue,  when  that  was  wanting  to  Angels  in  heaven, 
and  to  the  first  man  in  paradise,  who  stood  not  long?  I  am 
He  that  raise  up  them  that  be  sorrowful  to  health  and  to 
comfort,  and  those  that  know  their  own  unstableness  I  lift 
them  up  to  be  stabled  in  the  sight  of  My  Godhead  for  ever. 
Lord,  how  sweet  are  thy  words  unto  my  taste!  yea, 
sweeter  than  honey  to  my  mouth! What  should  I  do  in  all 
my  troubles  and  heaviness,  if  Thou  didst  not  sometime 
comfort  me  with  Thy  wholesome  and  sweet  words?  There 
fore  it  shall  not  force  what  trouble  or  adversity  I  suffer  here 
for  Thee,  so  that  I  may  in  the  end  come  to  the  port  of  ever 
lasting  health.  Give  me  a  good  end,  and  a  blessed  passage 
out  of  this  world :  have  a  mind  on  me,  my  Lord,  my  God, 
and  direct  me  by  a  straight  and  ready  way  into  Thy  king 
dom,  I  beseech  Thee.  Amen. 


Y  SON,  beware  not  to  dispute  of  high  matters,  and  of 
the  secret  judgments  of  God;  why  this  man  is  so  left 
and  forsaken  of  God,  and  why  that  man  is  taken  to 
so  great  grace;  why  also  one  man  is  so  much  troubled,  and 
another  so  greatly  advanced.  These  things  overpass  all  man's 
knowledge,  for  to  search  God's  judgment  no  man's  reason, 
nor  yet  his  disputation,  may  suffice.  Therefore  when  the 
ghostly  enemy  stirreth  thee  to  such  things,  or  if  any  curious 
men  ask  of  thee  such  questions,  answer  with  the  Prophet 
David,  and  say  thus :  Righteous  art  thou,  O  Lord,  and  up 
right  are  thy  judgments.  And  that  other:  The  judgments  of 
the  Lord  are  true  and  righteous  altogether.  My  judgments 
are  to  be  dreaded,  and  not  to  be  discussed  by  man's  wit,  for 
they  are  to  man's  wit  incomprehensible. 

Beware  also  that  thou  search  not,  nor  reason  of  the  merits 


of  the  Saints,  which  of  them  was  holier  than  the  other,  or 
which  of  them  is  higher  in  heaven.  Such  questions  ofttimes 
nourish  great  strifes  and  unprofitable  reasonings,  and  pro 
ceed  of  pride  and  vain-glory;  hence  envy  and  dissensions 
spring  forth  when  one  laboureth  to  prefer  this  Saint,  and 
another  that.  And  truly  a  desire  to  know  such  things  rather 
displeaseth  the  Saints  than  pleaseth  them.  For  I,  saith  our 
Lord,  am  not  the  God  of  strife,  but  of  peace;  which  peace 
standeth  rather  in  true  meekness  than  in  exalting  of  them 

Some  men  are  more  stirred  to  love  these  or  those  Saints, 
and  that  with  much  greater  affection,  but  truly  that  affection 
is  ofttimes  rather  a  manly  than  a  godly  affection.  Am  I  not 
He  that  have  made  all  Saints?  Yes,  truly.  And  over  that  I 
have  given  them  grace,  and  I  have  given  them  glory.  I  know 
all  their  merits,  and  I  prevented  them  with  the  sweetness  of 
My  blessings.  I  knew  My  beloved  ones  before  the  world 
was  made;  I  have  chosen  them  from  the  world,  they  have 
not  chosen  Me.  I  called  them  by  My  grace,  I  drew  them  by 
My  mercy;  I  led  them  through  temptations,  I  sent  them 
inward  comforts.  I  gave  them  perseverance,  I  crowned  their 
patience.  I  know  the  first  man  and  the  last,  I  love  them  all 
with  an  inestimable  love. 

Thus  I  am  to  be  praised  in  all  My  Saints,  and  above  all 
things  I  am  to  be  blessed  and  honoured  in  all  and  every  one 
of  those  whom  I  have  so  gloriously  magnified  and  predesti 
nated,  without  any  merits  of  theirs  going  before.  Therefore 
he  that  despiseth  the  least  of  My  Saints,  doth  no  honour  to 
the  greatest;  for  I  have  made  both  the  less  and  the  greater. 
And  he  that  dispraiseth  any  of  My  Saints,  he  dispraiseth 
Me,  and  all  other  My  Saints  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven;  for 
they  are  all  one,  fast  united  and  knit  together  in  one  sure 
bond  of  perfect  charity.  They  all  feel  one  thing,  they  all  will 
one  thing  and  they  all  love  together  unto  one. 

Yet  they  love  Me  much  more  than  themselves  or  their 


own  merits,  for  they  are  rapt  above  themselves,  and  are 
drawn  from  their  own  love,  and  are  wholly  turned  into  My 
love,  in  the  which  they  rest  by  eternal  fruition.  There  is 
nothing  that  may  turn  them  from  My  love,  nor  thrust  them 
down  out  of  their  glory,  for  they  are  full  of  eternal  truth, 
and  burn  inwardly  with  fire  of  everlasting  charity,  that  shall 
never  be  quenched.  Let  all  therefore  that  be  carnal  and 
animal,  and  that  cannot  love  but  selfish  joys,  cease  to  search 
the  state  of  My  blessed  Saints  in  heaven;  for  they  take  away 
or  acid  to  their  merits  as  they  favour,  and  not  after  the 
pleasure  of  the  eternal  truth  of  God. 

In  many  folks  there  is  great  ignorance;  but  most  specially 
in  them  that  have  so  little  light  of  ghostly  understanding, 
that  they  cannot  love  any  person  with  a  clean  love.  Many 
also  are  moved  by  a  natural  affection,  or  by  a  worldly  friend 
ship,  to  love  this  man  or  that;  and  as  they  imagine  in  earthly 
things,  so  they  imagine  of  heavenly  things.  But  there  is  a 
distance  incomparable  betwixt  things  which  imperfect  men 
imagine  by  natural  reason,  and  which  men  truly  illumined 
with  grace  behold  by  heavenly  contemplation. 

Beware  therefore,  my  son,  to  treat  curiously  of  such 
things,  for  they  pass  thy  knowledge,  and  endeavour  that 
thou  mayest  be  worthy  to  be  numbered  with  the  least  Saint 
that  shall  come  to  heaven.  And  if  percase  a  man  might  know 
who  were  holier,  or  who  should  be  taken  greater  in  the  king 
dom  of  heaven;  what  would  that  knowledge  avail  him,  unless 
he  should  thereby  the  more  meek  himself,  and  the  more  rise 
thereby  into  the  laud  and  praising  of  My  Name?  Truly 

Therefore  he  is  much  more  acceptable  to  God  that  think- 
eth  on  the  greatness  of  his  sins  and  of  the  littleness  of  his 
virtues,  and  how  far  he  is  from  the  perfection  of  the  least 
Saint  that  is  in  heaven,  than  he  that  argueth  of  their  great 
ness  or  their  littleness,  forgetting  himself.  It  is  better  also 
with  devout  prayers,  and  with  weepings  and  tears,  meekly 


to  pray  to  Saints  and  to  call  to  them  for  help,  than  vainly  to 
search  for  their  perfection. 

They  are  very  well  contented  with  the  joy  that  they  have, 
if  men  would  refrain  themselves  from  such  vain  arguments. 
They  glorify  not  themselves  of  their  merits,  nor  do  they 
ascribe  any  goodness  to  themselves;  for  they  know  well  that 
I  of  My  infinite  goodness  and  charity  have  given  all  unto 

And  they  are  so  much  filled  with  love  of  the  Godhead 
and  with  overpassing  joy,  that  no  glory  may  want  in  them 
nor  any  felicity.  And  the  higher  that  they  be  in  heaven,  the 
meeker  be  they  in  themselves,  and  the  more  nigh  and  the 
more  loving  to  Me.  Therefore  it  is  written  in  the  Apocalypse 
that  Saints  in  heaven  laid  their  crowns  before  God,  and  fell 
prostrate  on  their  faces  before  the  meek  Lamb,  that  is  Jesus, 
and  they  worshipped  Him  as  their  Lord  God,  Who  is  and 
shall  be  living  evermore.  Amen. 

Many  search  who  is  highest  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven, 
that  know  not  whether  they  shall  be  worthy  to  be  numbered 
with  the  least  that  shall  come  thither.  It  is  a  great  thing  to  be 
the  least  in  heaven,  where  all  are  great;  for  all  that  shall  come 
thither  shall  be  called  the  sons  of  God,  and  so  shall  they  be 
in  deed.  A  little  one  shall  become  a  thousand,  and  the  sinner 
being  an  hundred  years  old  shall  be  accursed.  When  the 
Apostles  asked  among  themselves  who  should  be  greatest  in 
the  kingdom  of  heaven,  they  heard  this  answer  of  Christ: 
Except  ye  be  converted,  and  become  as  little  children,  ye 
shall  not  enter  into  the  kingdom  of  heaven.  Whosoever 
therefore  shall  humble  himself  as  this  little  child,  the  same 
is  greatest  in  the  kingdom  of  heaven. 

Woe  then  be  to  them  that  disdain  to  meek  themselves 
with  little  children,  for  the  lowly  gate  of  heaven  will  not 
suffer  them  to  enter  into  it. 

Woe  also  be  unto  the  proud  rich  men  that  have  their 
consolation  here;  for  when  the  good  poor  man  shall  enter 


into  the  kingdom  of  God,  they  shall  stand  weeping  and 
wailing  without. 

Joy  ye  then,  ye  that  be  meek  and  poor  in  spirit,  for  yours 
is  the  kingdom  of  heaven;  so  that  ye  walk  and  hold  your 
journey  assuredly  in  the  way  of  truth. 


ORD,  what  is  the  trust  that  I  have  in  this  life?  or  what 
is  my  greatest  solace  of  all  things  under  heaven?  Is  it 
not  Thou,  my  Lord  God,  Whose  mercy  is  without 
measure?Where  hath  it  been  well  with  me  without  Thee? 
Or  when  hath  it  not  been  well  with  me,Thou  being  present? 
I  had  liefer  be  poor  with  Thee,  than  rich  without  Thee.  I  had 
liefer  be  with  Thee  as  a  pilgrim  in  this  world,  than  without 
Thee  to  be  in  heaven;  for  where  Thou  art  there  is  heaven, 
and  where  Thou  art  not,  there  is  both  death  and  hell.  Thou 
art  to  me  all  that  I  desire,  and  therefore  it  behoveth  me  to 
sigh  to  Thee,  to  cry  to  Thee,  and  heartily  to  pray  to  Thee. 
I  have  no  one  to  trust  in,  that  may  help  me  in  my  necessities, 
but  only  Thee. Thou  art  my  hope,Thou  art  my  trust, Thou 
art  my  comfort,  and  Thou  art  my  faithful  helper  in  every 

Man  seeketh  that  is  his;  but  Thou  seekest  my  health  and 
profit,  and  turnest  all  things  unto  the  best  for  me;  for  if 
Thou  send  temptations  and  other  adversities  Thou  ordain- 
est  all  to  my  profit,  for  Thou  art  wont  by  a  thousand  ways 
to  prove  Thy  chosen  people.  In  which  proof  Thou  art  no 
less  to  be  lauded  and  praised  than  if  Thou  hadst  fulfilled 
them  with  heavenly  comforts. 

In  Thee,  Lord,  therefore  I  put  my  trust,  and  in  Thee 
I  bear  patiently  all  my  adversities;  for  I  find  nothing  with 
out  Thee  but  unstableness  and  folly.  For  the  multitude  of 
worldly  friends  profiteth  not,  nor  may  strong  helpers  any- 

thing  avail/  nor  wise  counsellors  give  profitable  counsel,  nor 
the  cunning  of  doctors  give  consolation/  nor  riches  deliver 
in  time  of  need/  nor  a  secret  place  defend;  if  thou/  Lord/  do 
not  assist/  help/  comfort/  counsel/  inform/  and  defend. 

All  things  that  seem  to  be  ordained  to  man's  solace  in  this 
world  if  Thou  be  absent/  be  nought  worth/  and  may  not 
bring  to  man  any  true  felicity.  For  Thou  art  the  end/  Lord/ 
of  all  good  things/  the  highness  of  life/  and  the  profound 
wisdom  of  all  things  that  are  in  heaven  and  in  earth.  Where 
fore  to  trust  in  Thee  above  all  things  is  the  greatest  comfort 
to  all  Thy  servants. 

To  Thee/  therefore/  I  lift  mine  eyes/  and  in  Thee  only 
I  put  my  trust/  my  Lord/  my  God/  the  Father  of  Mercy. 
Bless  Thou  and  hallow  Thou  my  soul  with  Thy  heavenly 
blessings/  that  it  may  be  Thy  dwelling-place/  and  the  seat 
of  Thy  eternal  glory;  so  that  nothing  be  found  in  me  at  any 
time  that  may  offend  the  eye  of  Thy  Majesty. 

Behold  me/  Lord/  after  the  greatness  of  Thy  goodness 
and  of  Thy  manifold  mercies,  and  graciously  hear  the  prayer 
of  me/ Thy  poorest  servant/  outlawed  and  far  exiled  into 
the  country  of  the  shadow  of  death.  Defend  and  keep  me 
amidst  the  manifold  dangers  of  this  corruptible  life;  and 
through  Thy  grace  direct  me  by  the  way  of  peace  into  the 
country  of  everlasting  clearness.  Amen. 







1.   WlTH    HOW    GREAT    REVERENCE    CHRIST    IS    TO    BE 

M  Y  Lord  Jesu  Christ,  eternal  Truth !  these  words  afore 
said  be  thy  words,  albeit  they  were  not  said  in  one 
self  time,  nor  written  in  one  self  place.  And  for  that 
they  be  Thy  words,  I  will  thankfully  and  faithfully  accept 
them.  They  be  Thy  words,  and  Thou  hast  spoken  them,  and 
they  be  now  mine  also;  for  Thou  hast  said  them  for  my 
health.  I  will  gladly  receive  them  of  Thy  mouth,  to  the  end 
they  may  be  the  better  sown  and  planted  in  mine  heart.  Thy 
words  of  so  great  piety,  full  of  sweetness  and  love,  greatly 
excite  me.  But,  Lord,  my  sins  fear  me  greatly,  and  my  con 
science,  not  being  pure  enough  to  receive  so  great  a  mystery, 
draweth  me  sore  aback.  The  sweetness  of  Thy  words  pro- 
voketh  me,  but  the  multitude  of  mine  offences  charge  me 
very  sore. 

Thou  commandest  that  I  come  unto  Thee  faithfully,  if 
I  would  have  part  with  Thee;  and  receive  the  nourishing  of 
immortality,  if  I  covet  to  obtain  the  glory  and  life  eternal. 
Thou  sayest,  Lord:  Come  unto  me,  all  ye  that  labour  and 
are  heavy  laden,  and  I  will  give  you  rest.  O  how  sweet  and 
how  amiable  a  word  is  it  in  the  ear  of  a  sinner,  that  Thou, 
Lord  God,  shouldst  bid  me,  that  am  so  poor  and  needy,  to 
the  Communion  of  Thy  most  holy  Body!  But  what  am  I, 
Lord,  that  I  dare  presume  to  come  to  Thee?  Lo,  heaven  and 
earth  may  not  comprehend  Thee,  and  Thou  sayest:  Come 
ye  all  unto  Me. 

What  meaneth  this  most  meek  worthiness,  and  this  lovely 
and  friendly  bidding?  How  shall  I  dare  come  unto  Thee, 
that  knoweth  that  I  have  done  nothing  well?  How  shall  I 
bring  Thee  into  my  house,  that  so  oft  have  offended  before 
Thy  face?  Angels  and  Archangels  honour  Thee,  and  right 
eous  men  dread  Thee;  and  yet  Thou  sayest:  Come  ye  all 
unto  Me.  But  that  Thou,  Lord,  hadst  said  it,  who  would 


believe  it  to  be  true?  And  but  Thou  hast  commanded  it, 
who  dare  attempt  to  go  unto  it? 

Noah,  that  just  man,  laboured  a  hundred  years  to  make 
a  ship,  to  the  end  he  might  be  saved  with  a  few  of  his  people. 
How  may  I  prepare  me  then  in  an  hour  to  receive  Thee  with 
due  reverence,  that  art  the  Maker  and  Creator  of  all  the 

Moses,  Thy  servant,  and  great  familiar,  and  special 
friend,  made  the  ark  of  timber  not  corruptible,  which  he 
covered  with  right  pure  gold,  and  put  in  it  the  tables  of  the 
law.  And  I,  a  corrupt  creature,  how  shall  I  dare  so  lightly  to 
receive  Thee,  that  art  the  Maker  of  the  law,  and  Giver  of 
grace  and  life  unto  all  creatures? 

Solomon,  the  most  wise  King  of  Israel,  in  the  space  of 
seven  years,  built  a  marvellous  temple  to  the  praising  of 
Thy  Name,  and  for  eight  days  hallowed  the  Feast  of  the 
Dedication  of  the  same;  he  offered  a  thousand  peace-offer 
ings,  and  put  the  ark  of  God  in  the  place  made  ready  for  it, 
with  great  melody  of  clarions  and  trumpets.  How  dare  I 
then,  that  am  most  poor  among  other  creatures,  receive  Thee 
into  mine  house;  I  who  scarcely  have  well  spent  one  half- 
hour  of  time  in  my  life? 

O  my  good  Lord,  how  much  they  studied  to  please  Thee, 
and  how  little  it  is  that  I  do !  How  little  time  I  take  when 
I  dispose  myself  to  be  houseled.  Seldom  am  I  gathered  to 
gether  in  Thee,  and  more  seldom  am  I  purged  from  having 
my  mind  overmuch  on  worldly  things.  And  certainly  no 
unprofitable  thoughts  ought  to  come  into  the  holy  presence 
of  the  Godhead,  nor  ought  any  creatures  to  have  place 
there;  for  I  shall  not  receive  an  Angel  but  the  Lord  of  Angels 
into  my  heart. 

Nevertheless  there  is  a  great  difference  between  the  ark 
of  God  with  its  relics,  and  Thy  most  pure  and  precious  Body 
with  its  virtues,  which  are  more  than  can  be  spoken;  and 
between  the  sacrifices  of  the  Old  Law  that  were  but  as 


figures  of  the  New  Law,  and  the  true  Host  of  Thy  precious 
Body,  which  is  the  accomplishment  of  all  the  old  sacrifices. 

Why  then  am  I  not  more  inflamed  to  come  to  Thee?  Why 
do  I  not  prepare  myself  with  greater  diligence  to  receive  this 
holy  and  blessed  Sacrament,  sith  the  holy  ancient  Fathers, 
the  Patriarchs  and  Prophets,  Kings  and  Princes,  with  all  the 
people,  have  shewed  so  great  affection  towards  Thy  service 
in  time  passed? 

The  most  devout  and  blessed  King  David  went  before 
the  ark  of  God  and  honoured  it  with  all  his  strength,  al 
ways  remembering  the  great  benefits  before  given  unto  the 
Fathers;  he  made  organs  of  divers  manners,  and  also  Psalms, 
which  he  ordained  to  be  sung,  and  he  himself  sung  them 
with  great  gladness/  and  ofttimes  with  his  harp,  he  being 
fulfilled  with  the  grace  of  the  Holy  Ghost,  taught  the  people 
of  Israel  to  laud  and  praise  God  with  all  their  heart,  and 
daily  with  their  mouth  to  bless  Him  and  preach  His  good 
ness.  If  there  were  shewed  then  so  great  devotion  and  remem 
brance  of  laud  and  praising  to  God  before  the  ark  of  the 
Old  Testament,  how  much  reverence  and  devotion  ought 
we  then  now  to  have  in  the  presence  of  this  holy  Sacrament, 
and  in  the  receiving  of  the  most  excellent  Body  of  our  Lord 
Jesus  Christ? 

Many  run  to  divers  places  to  visit  relics  of  Saints,  and 
marvel  greatly  when  they  hear  of  their  blessed  deeds;  they 
see  great  buildings  of  temples,  and  behold  how  their  holy 
bones  be  covered  with  silk  and  lapped  in  gold.  And  lo,Thou, 
my  Lord  God,Thou  art  present  here  with  me  upon  the  altar, 
the  most  holy  Saint  of  Saints,  Maker  of  all  things,  and  Lord 
of  Angels.  Ofttimes  there  is  great  curiosity  and  vanity  in  the 
sight  of  such  things,  and  little  fruit  and  amendment  is  had 
thereby,  specially  where  there  is  so  light  recourse,  without 
any  true  contrition  going  before.  But  Thou,  my  Lord  God, 
my  Lord  Jesus  Christ,  God  and  Man,  art  here  wholly  pres 
ent  in  the  Sacrament  of  the  Altar,  where  the  fruit  of  ever- 


lasting  health  is  had  plenteously,  as  oft  as  Thou  art  worthily 
and  devoutly  received.  But  if  that  shall  be  done  fruitfully, 
there  may  be  no  lightness,  curiosity,  or  sensuality/  but 
steadfast  faith,  devout  hope,  and  pure  charity. 

O  God,  invisible  Maker  of  all  the  world,  how  marvel 
lously  doest  Thou  with  us,  how  sweetly  and  how  graciously 
disposest  Thou  all  things  to  Thy  chosen  people,  to  whom 
Thou  offerest  Thyself  to  be  taken  in  this  glorious  Sacrament. 
Certainly  it  surmounteth  all  understanding,  and  it  draweth 
the  hearts  and  kindleth  the  affections  of  all  devout  men. 
Thy  true  faithful  people,  that  dispose  all  their  life  to  amend 
ment,  receive  ofttimes  through  this  glorious  Sacrament  great 
grace  of  devotion,  and  great  love  of  virtue. 

O  marvellous  and  secretly  hidden  grace  of  this  Sacra 
ment,  which  only  the  faithful  people  of  Christ  do  know;  for 
infidels  and  they  that  live  in  sin  may  have  no  manner  of 
experience  thereof !  In  this  Sacrament  spiritual  grace  is  given, 
and  the  virtue  that  was  lost  in  their  soul  is  repaired,  and  the 
beauty  that  was  deformed  through  sin  returneth  again.  And 
the  grace  of  this  Sacrament  sometimes  is  so  much,  that,  of 
the  fulness  of  devotion  that  cometh  thereby,  not  only  the 
mind,  but  also  the  feeble  body,  recover  their  former  strength. 

But  verily  it  is  greatly  to  be  sorrowed,  that  we  be  slow 
and  negligent,  and  that  we  are  not  stirred  with  greater  affec 
tion  to  receive  Christ;  in  Whom  standeth  all  merit  and  hope 
of  them  that  shall  be  saved.  He  is  our  health  and  our  redemp 
tion;  He  is  the  comforter  of  all  that  live  in  this  world,  and 
the  eternal  rest  of  all  Saints  in  heaven.  This  also  is  greatly 
to  be  sorrowed,  that  so  many  take  so  little  heed  of  this  high 
mystery,  which  gladdeth  heaven  and  preserveth  the  world. 
Alas,  the  blindness  and  hardness  of  man's  heart,  that  taketh 
not  greater  heed  of  so  noble  a  gift,  but  by  the  daily  using 
thereof  is  negligent  and  taketh  little  heed  thereto. 

If  this  most  blessed  Sacrament  were  ministered  only  in 
one  place,  and  consecrated  but  by  one  priest  in  the  world, 


with  how  great  desire,  thinkest  thou,  the  people  would  run 
to  that  place,  to  that  priest,  that  they  might  see  there  these 
heavenly  myseries?  Now  there  be  many  priests,  and  Christ 
is  offered  in  many  places,  that  the  grace  and  love  of  God  to 
man  may  appear  so  much  the  greater,  the  more  the  holy 
Communion  is  spread  abroad  throughout  the  world. 

Thankings  be  to  Thee,  therefore,  my  Lord  Jesu,  that 
Thou  dost  vouchsafe  to  refresh  us  poor  outlaws  with  Thy 
Precious  Blood,  and  to  stir  us  with  the  words  of  Thine  own 
mouth  to  receive  this  holy  mystery,  saying:  Come  unto  me, 
all  ye  that  labour  and  are  heavy  laden,  and  I  will  give  you 



OMY  Lord  Jesu!  trusting  in  Thy  great  goodness  and 
mercy,  I  come  to  Thee,  as  a  sick  man  to  him  that  shall 
heal  him,  and  as  he  that  is  hungry  and  thirsty  to  the 
fountain  of  life,  as  one  that  is  needy  to  the  King  of  Heaven, 
as  a  servant  to  his  lord,  a  creature  to  his  Creator,  and  as  a 
desolate  person  to  his  meek  and  blessed  comforter.  But  how 
is  it  that  Thou  comest  to  me?  Who  am  I  that  Thou  shouldst 
give  Thyself  unto  me?  How  dare  I,  a  sinner,  appear  before 
Thee?  And  how  is  it  that  Thou  wilt  vouchsafe  to  come  to 
so  sinful  a  creature?  Thou  knowest  Thy  servant,  and  seest 
well  that  of  himself  he  hath  no  goodness  wherefore  Thou 
shouldst  give  this  grace  unto  him.  I  confess  therefore  mine 
own  unworthiness,  and  I  acknowledge  Thy  goodness/  I 
praise  Thy  piety,  and  yield  Thee  thanking  for  Thy  great 
charity.  Verily  Thou  doest  all  this  for  Thine  own  goodness, 
and  not  for  my  merits;  that  Thy  goodness  may  thereby  the 
more  appear,  Thy  charity  the  more  largely  be  shewed,  and 
Thy  meekness  the  more  highly  be  commended.  Therefore, 
because  this  pleaseth  Thee,  and  Thou  hast  commanded  that 


it  should  thus  be  done,  Thy  goodness  therein  also  pleaseth 
me;  and  would  to  God  that  mine  iniquities  resisted  me  not. 

O  my  Lord  Jesu!  how  great  reverence  and  thankings, 
with  perpetual  praisings  of  Thy  Name,  ought  to  be  given 
Thee  for  the  receiving  of  Thy  holy  Body,  Whose  dignity  no 
man  is  able  to  express.  But  what  shall  I  think  on  in  this  Com 
munion,  and  in  going  to  my  Lord  God,  Whom  I  cannot 
worship  as  I  ought  to  do,  and  yet  desire  to  receive  devoutly? 
What  may  I  think  on  better  or  more  healthful  to  me,  than 
wholly  to  meek  myself  before  Thee,  exalting  Thy  infinite 
goodness  far  above  me?  I  laud  Thee,  my  Lord  God,  and 
shall  exalt  Thee  everlastingly.  I  despise  myself  and  sub 
mit  me  to  Thee,  and  sorrow  greatly  the  deepness  of  mine 

Thou  art  the  Saint  of  Saints,  and  I  am  the  filth  of  all 
sinners :  and  yet  Thou  inclinest  Thyself  to  me,  that  am  not 
worthy  to  look  toward  Thee.  Thou  comest  to  me,  Thou 
wilt  be  with  me, Thou  biddest  me  to  Thy  feast.  Thou  wilt 
give  me  this  heavenly  meat  and  this  Angel's  food  to  eat, 
which  is  plainly  none  other  but  Thyself,  that  art  the  lively 
bread  which  descendest  from  heaven  and  givest  life  to  the 

Behold,  Lord,  from  whence  all  this  love  proceedeth,  and 
how  great  goodness  shineth  upon  us.  How  great  thanks  and 
praises  are  due  to  Thee  therefor.  O  how  healthful  and  profit 
able  a  counsel  was  it,  when  Thou  ordainedst  this  glorious 
Sacrament !  How  sweet  and  joyous  a  feast  was  it  when  Thou 
gavest  Thyself  as  meat  to  be  eaten !  O  Lord,  how  marvellous 
is  Thy  work,  how  mighty  is  Thy  virtue,  and  how  far  un 
speakable  is  Thy  truth !  By  Thy  word  all  things  were  made, 
and  all  things  were  done  as  Thou  hast  commanded. 

It  is  a  marvellous  thing,  worthy  to  be  believed,  and  far 
above  the  understanding  of  man,  that  Thou,  Lord,  that  art 
God  and  very  Man,  art  wholly  contained  under  a  little  like 
ness  of  bread  and  wine,  and  art  eaten  without  consuming,  of 


him  that  taketh  Thee;  and  that  Thou,  that  art  Lord  of  all 
things,  and  that  needest  nothing  in  this  world,  wouldst  by 
this  glorious  Sacrament  dwell  in  us.  Keep  Thou  mine  heart 
and  my  body  immaculate,  that  in  a  glad  and  a  pure  con 
science  I  may  ofttimes  celebrate  Thy  mysteries,  and  receive 
them  to  my  everlasting  health,  which  Thou  hast  ordained 
most  specially  to  Thy  honour  and  perpetual  memory. 

O  my  soul,  be  thou  merry  and  glad  for  so  noble  a  gift  and 
so  singular  a  comfort  left  to  thee  in  this  vale  of  misery,  for 
as  oft  as  thou  rememberest  this  mystery  and  takest  the  Body 
of  Christ,  so  oft  thou  workest  the  work  of  thy  redemption, 
and  art  made  partaker  of  all  the  merits  of  Christ.  Truly  the 
charity  of  Christ  is  never  minished,  and  the  greatness  of  His 
Mercy  is  never  consumed.  Therefore  thou  oughtest  always 
with  a  new  renewing  of  mind  to  dispose  thee  to  it,  and  with 
a  well-advised  and  a  deep  consideration  to  think  on  this 
great  mystery  of  health.  It  should  seem  to  thee  as  new  and 
as  pleasant  a  joy  and  comfort  when  thou  singest  Mass  or 
hearest  it,  as  if  Christ  the  same  day  first  entered  into  the 
womb  of  the  Virgin,  and  were  made  Man,  or  if  He  the  same 
day  suffered  and  died  upon  the  cross  for  the  health  of  man 


I  ORD,  I  come  to  Thee,  that  it  may  be  well  with  me  through 
Thy  gift,  and  that  I  may  joy  at  the  holy  feast  that 

I  „•,,  Thou  of  Thy  great  goodness  hast  made  ready  for  r.c. 
In  Thee  is  all  that  I  may  or  should  desire,  for  Thou  art 
my  health  and  my  redemption,  my  hope  and  my  strength, 
my  honour  and  my  glory.  Make  me, Thy  servant,  this  day 
merry  and  glad  in  Thee,  for  I  have  lifted  my  soul  unto  Thee. 
I  desire  now  devoutly  and  reverently  to  receive  Thee  into 
mine  house,  that  I  may  deserve  with  zeal  to  be  blessed  of 
Thee,  and  to  be  accounted  among  the  children  of  Abraham. 

Iv  -"* 

My  soul  coveteth  to  receive  Thy  body,  my  heart  desireth 
to  be  united  with  Thee. 

Betake  Thyself  to  me.  Lord,  and  it  sufficeth;  for  without 
Thee  there  is  no  comfort.  Without  Thee  I  may  not  be;  and 
without  Thy  visitation  I  may  not  live.  And  therefore  it  be- 
hoveth  me  ofttimes  to  go  to  Thee,  and  for  my  health  to 
receive  Thee/  lest  haply,  if  I  be  defrauded  from  that  heavenly 
meat,  I  should  fail  in  the  way.  So  Thou  sayedst  Thyself, 
most  merciful  Jesu,  as  Thou  wast  preaching  to  the  people, 
and  healedst  them  of  their  sicknesses :  I  will  not  send  them 
away  fasting,  lest  they  faint  in  the  way.  Do  with  me  there 
fore  in  like  manner, Who  hast  left  Thyself  in  this  glorious 
Sacrament  for  the  comfort  of  all  faithful  people.  Thou  alone 
art  the  true  refection  of  the  soul,  and  he  that  worthily  eateth 
Thee  shall  be  partaker  and  heir  of  eternal  glory.  It  is  neces 
sary  to  me,  that  so  oft  do  offend,  so  soon  wax  dull  and  slow, 
that  by  oft-prayers  and  confessions  I  may  renew  myself, 
and  kindle  myself  to  quickness  and  fervour  of  spirit,  lest, 
by  long  abstaining,  I  might  fall  from  that  holy  purpose. 

For  the  wits  of  man  and  woman  be  from  their  youth  proud 
and  ready  to  evil;  and  but  if  this  heavenly  medicine  do  help, 
man  may  fall  anon  to  worse  and  worse.  This  Holy  Com 
munion  therefore  draweth  a  man  from  evil,  and  comforteth 
him  in  goodness.  If  now  I  be  ofttimes  so  negligent  and  sloth 
ful  when  I  am  commanded,  what  would  I  be,  if  I  received 
not  that  blessed  medicine,  and  sought  not  for  that  great 
help?  And  though  I  be  not  every  day  apt  nor  disposed  to 
receive  my  Creator,  nevertheless  I  shall  take  heed  to  receive 
Him  at  times  convenient,  so  that  I  may  be  partaker  of  so 
great  a  grace.  For  it  is  one  of  the  principal  consolations  of  a 
faithful  soul  that,  as  long  as  he  is  as  a  pilgrim  in  this  mortal 
body,  he  oft  remember  his  Lord  God,  and  receive  Him  that 
is  his  only  beloved  above  all  things. 

It  is  a  marvellous  goodness  of  the  great  pity  which  Thou, 
Lord,  hast  towards  us,  that  Thou,  Creator  and  giver  of  life 

to  all  spirits,  vouchsafest  to  come  to  a  poor  creature,  and 
with  Thy  Godhead  and  Manhood  to  refresh  his  hunger  and 
need.  O  happy  is  that  man,  and  blessed  is  that  soul  that 
deserveth  devoutly  to  receive  his  Lord  God,  and  in  that 
receiving  to  be  fulfilled  with  a  spiritual  joy!  O  how  great 
a  Lord  doth  he  receive;  how  well-beloved  a  guest  doth  he 
bring  into  his  house;  how  joyous  a  fellow  doth  he  receive; 
how  faithful  a  friend  doth  he  accept;  how  noble  a  spouse 
doth  he  embrace  that  receiveth  Thee,  for  Thou  alone  art  to 
be  beloved  before  all,  and  above  all  things !  Let  heaven  and 
earth,  and  all  the  ornaments  of  them,  be  still  in  Thy  pres 
ence,  for  whatsoever  they  have  worthy  of  laud  or  praise, 
they  have  that  of  the  largess  of  Thy  gift,  and  yet  they  cannot 
be  like  to  the  honour  and  glory  of  Thy  Name,  of  Whose 
wisdom  there  is  no  number  or  measure. 


OM  Y  Lord  God !  prevent  Thy  servant  with  the  blessings 
of  Thy  sweetness,  that  he  may  deserve  to  go  rever 
ently  and  devoutly  to  this  high  Sacrament.  Stir  up  my 
heart  unto  a  full  beholding  of  Thee,  and  deliver  me  from 
the  great  sloth  and  idleness  in  which  I  have  been  in  time  past. 
Visit  me  in  Thy  goodness,  and  give  me  grace  to  taste  in  my 
soul  the  sweetness  that  is  secretly  hid  in  this  Blessed  Sacra 
ment,  as  in  a  most  plenteous  fountain.  Illumine  also  mine 
eyes  to  see  and  behold  so  great  a  mystery,  and  strengthen 
me  that  I  may  always  faithfully  and  undoubtedly  believe  it, 
for  it  is  Thy  operation  and  not  the  power  of  man, Thy  holy 
institution  and  not  man's  invention.  Therefore  to  take  and 
to  understand  these  things,  no  man  is  sufficient  of  himself, 
for  they  overpass  the  subtilty  of  all  Angels  and  heavenly 
spirits.  What  then  may  I,  most  unworthy  sinner,  dust  and 
ashes,  search  and  talk  of  so  high  a  secret? 

Lord,  in  simpleness  of  heart,  in  a  good,  stable  faith,  and 
by  Thy  commandment,  I  come  to  Thee  with  meek  hope  and 
reverence,  and  verily  believe  that  Thou  art  here  present  in 
this  Sacrament,  God  and  Man.  Thou  wilt  therefore  that  I 
should  receive  Thee,  and  knit  myself  to  Thee  in  perfect 
charity.  Wherefore  I  ask  Thee  mercy,  and  desire  that  Thou 
give  me  Thy  special  grace,  that  I  may  from  henceforth  be 
fully  molten  into  Thee,  flow  in  Thy  love,  and  never  after 
intermit  myself  with  any  other  comfort.  This  most  high  and 
most  worthy  Sacrament  is  the  life  of  the  soul  and  body,  the 
medicine  of  all  spiritual  sickness,  whereby  all  vices  be  cured, 
passions  refrained,  temptations  overcome  and  diminished, 
greater  grace  is  sent,  virtue  increased,  and  faith  stablished, 
hope  strengthened,  charity  kindled  and  spread  abroad. 

Thou  hast  given  and  ofttimes  givest  many  great  gifts  by 
this  Sacrament  to  Thy  beloved  Servants  that  devoutly  re 
ceive,  for  Thou  art  thereby  the  strong  upholder  of  my  soul, 
the  repairer  of  all  the  infirmities  of  man,  and  the  giver  of  all 
inward  comfort  in  tribulation.  From  the  deepness  of  their 
own  dejection,  Thou  raisest  them  again  into  a  strong  hope 
of  Thy  preservation,  renewest  them,  and  lightest  them  in 
wardly  with  a  new  grace,  so  that  they  that  felt  themselves, 
before  receiving  of  that  Blessed  Sacrament,  heavy  and  with 
out  affection,  after,  when  they  have  received  it,  have  found 
themselves  changed  into  a  great  ghostly  fervour.  And  all 
this  Thou  doest  to  Thy  elect  people  of  Thy  great  goodness, 
that  they  may  see  and  know  openly  by  experience  that  they 
have  nothing  of  themselves,  but  that  all  the  grace  and  good 
ness  that  they  have,  they  have  received  of  Thee;  for  of  them 
selves  they  be  cold,  dull,  and  undevout,  but  by  Thee  they 
be  made  fervent,  quick  in  spirit,  and  devout  followers  of 
Thy  will.  Who  goeth  meekly  to  the  fountain  of  sweetness, 
but  he  bringeth  away  with  him  great  plenty  of  sweetness? 
Or,  who  standeth  by  a  great  fire,  but  he  feeleth  the  great 
heat  thereof?  And  Thou,  Lord,  art  the  fountain  of  all  sweet- 

ness,  the  fire  always  burning  and  never  failing.  Therefore, 
though  I  may  not  draw  the  fulness  of  that  fountain,  nor 
drink  thereof  to  the  full,  I  shall  nevertheless  put  my  mouth  to 
the  hole  of  the  heavenly  pipe,  that  I  may  take  some  little  drop 
thereof  to  refresh  my  thirst,  that  so  I  be  not  all  dried  away. 

And  though  I  be  not  all  heavenly  and  burning  in  charity, 
as  the  Seraphim  and  Cherubim  be,  nevertheless,  I  shall 
endeavour  me  to  set  myself  to  devotion  and  to  prepare  mine 
heart,  that  I  may  get  some  little  sparkle  of  the  burning  of 
heavenly  life,  through  the  meek  receiving  of  this  living  Sac 
rament.  Whatsoever  wanteth  in  me,  I  beseech  Thee,  my 
Lord  Jesu,  most  holy  and  blessed,  that  Thou  benignly  and 
graciously  supply  in  me,  for  Thou  hast  vouchsafed  to  call 
all  to  Thee,  saying:  Come  unto  me,  all  ye  that  labour  and 
are  heavy  laden,  and  I  will  give  you  rest. 

I  labour  in  the  sweat  of  my  body,  and  am  troubled  with 
the  sorrow  of  mine  heart;  I  am  charged  with  sins,  travailed 
with  temptations,  wrapped  and  oppressed  with  many  evil 
passions;  and  there  is  none  that  may  help  or  that  may  deliver 
me,  nor  that  may  make  me  safe,  but  Thou,  Lord  God,  my 
only  Saviour,  to  Whom  I  commit  myself  and  all  mine,  that 
Thou  keep  me  and  lead  me  into  life  everlasting.  Accept  me, 
and  take  me  into  the  laud  and  glory  of  Thy  Name,  that  hast 
ordained  to  me  Thy  Body  and  Blood  to  be  my  meat  and 
drink.  Grant  me,  Lord,  I  beseech  Thee,  that  by  the  oft 
receiving  of  Thy  high  mystery  the  fervour  of  devotion  may 
daily  increase  in  me. 


F  THOU  hadst  the  purity  of  Angels  and  the  holiness  of  St. 
John  Baptist,  thou  wouldst  not  for  that  be  worthy  to  receive 
nor  touch  this  holy  Sacrament;  for  it  is  not  granted  for 

the  merits  of  man,  that  a  man  should  consecrate  and  touch 


the  Sacrament  of  Christ,  and  take  for  his  meat  the  Bread  of 
Angels.  It  is  a  great  mystery;  and  great  the  dignity  of  priests/ 
to  whom  it  is  granted  that  is  not  granted  to  Angels.  For  only 
priests  that  be  duly  ordained  in  the  Church  have  power  to 
sing  Mass  and  to  consecrate  the  Body  of  Christ.  A  priest  is 
indeed  the  minister  of  God,  using  the  word  of  consecration 
by  the  commandment  and  ordinance  of  God;  but  God  is 
there  the  principal  doer  and  worker,  to  Whom  is  subject  all 
that  He  willeth,  and  all  obeyeth  to  that  He  commandeth. 

Thou  oughtest,  therefore,  more  to  believe  Almighty  God 
in  this  most  excellent  Sacrament,  than  thine  own  wit,  or  any 
other  visible  token  or  sign.  And  therefore  with  dread  and 
reverence  thou  art  to  go  to  this  blessed  work.  Take  heed  then 
diligently,  and  see  from  whence  this  ministry  and  service 
cometh  that  is  given  unto  thee  by  the  touching  of  the  hands 
of  the  Bishop.  Thou  art  now  made  a  priest,  and  are  conse 
crated  to  sing  Mass.  Take  heed,  therefore,  that  thou  faith 
fully  and  devoutly  ofTer  thy  Sacrifice  to  God  in  due  time, 
and  that  thou  keep  thyself  without  reproof.  Thou  hast  not 
made  thy  burden  more  light,  but  thou  art  now  bound  in  a 
straiter  bond  of  discipline,  and  of  much  higher  perfection 
than  thou  wert  before. 

A  priest  ought  to  be  adorned  with  all  virtues,  and  to  give 
others  example  of  good  life.  His  conversation  should  not 
be  with  the  common  people,  nor  in  the  common  way  of  the 
world,  but  with  Angels  in  heaven,  or  with  perfect  men  in 
earth  that  be  best  disposed  to  serve  God. 

A  priest  clothed  in  holy  vestments  beareth  the  place  of 
Christ,  that  he  may  humbly  and  meekly  pray  to  our  Lord 
for  himself  and  for  all  the  people.  He  hath  before  him  and 
behind  him  the  sign  of  the  cross  of  Christ,  that  he  may 
diligently  remember  His  Passion.  He  beareth  before  him 
the  cross  that  he  may  diligently  behold  the  steps  of  Christ, 
and  study  fervently  to  follow  them.  Behind  him  also  he  is 
signed  with  the  cross,  that  he  may  gladly  and  meekly  surfer 


all  adversities  for  the  love  of  God.  He  beareth  the  cross  be 
fore  him  that  he  may  bewail  his  own  sins;  and  he  beareth 
it  behind  him,  that  he  may  through  compassion  beweep  the 
sins  of  other,  and  know  himself  to  be  set  as  a  mean  between 
God  and  the  whole  people;  and  therefore  not  to  cease  of 
prayer  and  holy  oblation,  till  he  may  deserve  of  Almighty 
God  mercy  and  grace. 

When  a  priest  saith  Mass,  he  honoureth  God,  he  maketh 
Angels  glad,  he  edifieth  the  Church,  he  helpeth  the  people 
that  be  alive,  giveth  rest  to  them  that  be  dead,  and  maketh 
himself  partaker  of  all  good  deeds. 



IORD,  when  I  think  of  Thy  worthiness,  and  of  my  great 
vileness,  I  tremble  strongly,  and  am  confounded  in  my- 

LB**  self;  for  if  I  receive  Thee  not,  I  fly  the  eternal  life,  and 
if  I  unworthily  receive  Thee,  I  run  into  Thy  wrath.  What 
then  shall  I  do,  my  good  Lord,  my  helper,  my  protector, 
comforter,  and  right  sure  counsellor  in  all  my  necessities? 
Teach  me,  good  Lord,  the  right  way,  and  purpose  unto 
me  some  ready  exercise  convenable  to  the  receiving  of  this 
holy  mystery,  for  it  is  necessary  unto  me,  and  greatly  profit 
able,  to  know  how  devoutly  and  reverently  I  ought  to  pre 
pare  mine  heart  to  receive  it,  or  to  consecrate  so  great  and 
so  goodly  a  Sacrifice  as  it  is. 


ITBEHOVETH  thee  above  all  things  with  sovereign  rever 
ence  and  profound  meekness  of  heart,  with  full  faith  and 
humble  intent  of  the  honour  of  God,  to  celebrate,  take, 

and  receive  this  holy  Sacrament.  Examine  diligently  thy 


conscience,  and  by  true  contrition  and  meek  confession  make 
it  clean  after  thy  power,  so  that  thou  know  nothing  that 
grieveth  or  biteth  thy  conscience,  or  that  may  let  thee  to  go 
freely  unto  it.  Have  displeasure  of  all  thy  sins  in  general, 
and  for  thy  daily  excesses  and  offences  have  sighings  and 
sorrowings  more  special.  And  if  the  time  will  suffer  it,  con 
fess  unto  God  in  secret  of  thine  heart  the  miseries  of  all  thy 

Weep  and  sorrow  that  thou  art  yet  so  carnal  and  worldly, 
so  unmortified  from  thy  passions,  so  full  of  motions  of  con 
cupiscence,  so  unwary,  and  so  evil  ordered  in  thy  outward 
wits;  so  oft  wrapped  in  vain  fantasies,  so  much  inclined  to 
outward  and  worldly  things,  so  negligent  to  inward  things, 
so  ready  to  laughing  and  dissoluteness,  so  hard  to  weeping 
and  compunction,  so  ready  to  easy  things  and  to  that  which 
is  liking  to  the  flesh;  so  slow  to  penance  and  fervour  of  spirit, 
so  curious  to  hear  new  things  and  to  see  fair  things,  so  loth 
to  meek  and  abject  things,  so  covetous  to  have  much,  so 
scarce  to  give,  so  glad  to  hold,  so  unadvised  in  speaking,  so 
incontinent  to  be  still,  so  evil  ordered  in  manners,  so  im 
portune  in  deeds,  so  greedy  upon  meat,  so  deaf  to  the  word 
of  God,  so  quick  to  rest,  so  slow  to  labour,  so  attentive  to 
fables,  so  sleepy  to  holy  vigils,  so  hasty  to  the  end,  so 
unstable  to  take  heed  to  the  way  that  leads  to  the  end;  so 
negligent  in  the  service  of  God,  so  dull  and  undevout  to  go 
to  Mass,  so  dry  in  thy  housel;  so  soon  fallen  at  large  to  out 
ward  things,  so  seldom  gathered  together  to  inward  things; 
so  soon  moved  to  anger  and  wrath,  so  lightly  stirred  to  the 
displeasure  of  others;  so  ready  to  judge,  so  rigorous  to  re 
prove;  so  glad  in  prosperity,  so  feeble  in  adversity;  so  oft 
purposing  many  good  things,  and  so  seldom  bringing  them 
to  effect.  And  when  thou  hast  thus  confessed  and  bewept  all 
these  defaults,  and  such  other  like  in  thee  with  great  sorrow 
and  displeasure  of  thine  own  frailness,  set  thee  then  in  a  full 
purpose  to  amend  thy  life  and  to  profit  always  from  better 


to  better.  Then,  with  a  full  resigning  and  a  whole  will,  offer 
thyself  unto  the  honour  of  My  Name  on  the  altar  of  thy 
heart,  as  a  sacrifice  to  Me;  that  is  to  say,  faithfully  commit 
ting  to  Me  both  thy  body  and  soul,  so  that  thou  mayest  be 
worthy  to  offer  to  Me  this  high  Sacrifice,  and  to  receive 
healthfully  the  Sacrament  of  My  holy  Body. 

For  there  is  no  oblation  more  worthy,  nor  satisfaction 
greater  to  put  away  sin,  than  for  a  man  to  offer  himself 
purely  and  wholly  to  God,  with  the  offering  of  the  Body 
of  Christ  in  Mass  and  in  Holy  Communion.  If  a  man  do  that 
which  is  in  him,  and  is  truly  penitent,  as  oft  as  he  cometh  to 
Me  for  grace  and  forgiveness,  I  am  the  Lord  that  saith :  Have 
I  any  pleasure  at  all  that  the  wicked  should  die?  saith  the 
Lord  God :  and  not  that  he  should  return  from  his  ways,  and 
live?  Because  I  will  no  more  remember  his  sins,  but  they 
shall  all  be  forgiven  unto  him. 


LI  R  Lord  Jesus  saith  to  His  servant  thus :  As  I  hanging 
all  naked,  with  Mine  arms  spread  abroad  upon  the 
cross,  offered  Myself  to  God  the  Father  for  thy  sins, 
so  that  nothing  remained  in  Me,  but  all  went  in  sacrifice  to 
please  My  Father  and  to  appease  His  wrath  against  man 
kind;  so  thou  oughtest  daily  in  the  Mass  to  offer  thyself 
freely  to  God,  as  much  as  thou  mayest,  in  a  pure  and  holy 
oblation,  with  all  thy  power  and  affection. What  require  I 
more  of  thee,  than  that  thou  shouldst  study  wholly  to  resign 
thyself  unto  Me? Whatsoever  thou  givest  beside  thyself  I 
regard  it  not;  for  I  look  not  for  thy  gifts,  but  for  thee. 

As  it  would  not  suffice  to  thee  to  have  all  things  beside 
Me,  so  it  may  not  please  Me,  whatsoever  thou  give  beside 
thyself.  Offer  thyself  to  me,  and  give  thyself  all  to  God, 
and  thy  oblation  shall  be  acceptable. 


Lo,  I  offered  Myself  wholly  to  My  Father  for  thee,  and 
I  gave  My  Body  and  Blood  to  thy  meat,  that  I  might  be 
wholly  thine  and  thou  Mine.  But  if  thou  have  a  trust  in 
thyself,  and  dost  not  freely  offer  thyself  to  My  Will,  thy 
oblation  is  not  pleasant,  and  there  shall  be  between  us  no 
perfect  union.  Hence  a  free  offering  of  thyself  into  the  hands 
of  God  must  go  before  all  thy  works,  if  thou  wilt  obtain 
grace  and  the  true  liberty.  Therefore  it  is  that  so  few  be 
inwardly  illuminate  and  free,  because  they  cannot  wholly 
forsake  themselves.  For  My  words  are  true : Whosoever  doth 
not  bear  his  cross,  and  come  after  me,  cannot  be  my  disciple. 
Offer  thyself  therefore  fully  to  Me  with  all  thine  affection 
and  love.  Amen. 


to !  all  things  be  Thine  that  are  in  heaven  and  earth.  I 
desire  to  offer  myself  to  Thee  in  a  free  and  perpetual 
oblation,  so  that  I  may  perpetually  be  with  Thee.  Lord! 
in  simpleness  of  heart  I  offer  me  to  Thee  this  day,  to  be  Thy 
servant  in  the  service  and  sacrifice  of  laud  perpetual.  Accept 
me  with  this  oblation  of  Thy  precious  Body,  which  I  this 
day  offer  to  Thee  in  the  presence  of  Thy  holy  Angels,  that 
are  here  present  invisible,  that  it  may  be  to  my  health  and 
to  the  health  of  all  the  people. 

And,  Lord,  I  offer  to  Thee  all  my  sins  and  offences  that 
I  have  committed  before  Thee  and  Thy  holy  Angels,  from 
the  day  that  I  first  could  offend  unto  this  day;  that  Thou 
vouchsafe  through  Thy  great  charity  to  put  away  all  my 
sins,  and  to  cleanse  my  conscience  of  all  mine  offences,  and 
to  restore  to  me  again  the  grace  that  I  through  sin  have  lost; 
that  Thou  forgive  me  all  things  past,  and  receive  me  merci 
fully  unto  a  blessed  kissing  of  peace  and  forgiveness. 

What  then  may  I  do,  but  meekly  confess  and  bewail  my 


sins,  and  continually  ask  mercy  of  Thee?  Forgive  me,  merci 
ful  Lord,  I  beseech  Thee;  for  all  my  sins  displease  me  much, 
and  I  will  never  commit  them  again,  but  sorrow  for  them, 
ready  to  do  penance  and  satisfaction  after  my  power.  For 
give  me,  Lord,  forgive  me  my  sins,  for  Thy  holy  Name;  save 
my  soul  that  Thou  hast  redeemed  with  Thy  precious  Blood. 
I  commit  myself  wholly  unto  Thy  mercy,  I  resign  myself 
wholly  into  Thy  hands ;  do  with  me  after  Thy  goodness,  and 
not  after  my  malice  and  wrretchedness. 

I  offer  also  to  Thee  all  my  good  deeds,  though  they  be 
very  few  and  imperfect,  that  Thou  amend  them  and  sanctify 
them,  and  make  them  liking  and  acceptable  to  Thee,  and 
always  make  them  better  and  better,  and  that  Thou  bring 
me,  though  I  be  a  slow  and  unprofitable  person,  to  a  blessed 
and  laudable  end. 

I  offer  also  to  Thee  all  the  desires  of  devout  persons,  the 
necessity  of  mine  ancestors,  friends,  brothers,  sisters,  and  of 
all  my  lovers;  and  of  all  them  that  for  Thy  love  have  done 
good  to  me  or  to  any  other;  of  them  also  that  have  desired 
and  asked  me  to  pray  or  to  do  sacrifice  for  them  or  for  their 
friends,  whether  they  be  alive  or  dead;  that  they  may  the 
rather  feel  the  help  of  Thy  grace,  the  gift  of  Thy  heavenly 
consolation,  protection  from  all  peril,  deliverance  from  all 
pain;  and  that  they  being  so  delivered  from  all  evils,  may  in 
spiritual  gladness  yield  to  Thee  high  laud  and  praisings. 

I  offer  also  to  Thee  my  prayer  and  my  peaceable  offering 
for  all  them  that  have  in  anything  hindered  me  or  made  me 
heavy,  or  that  have  done  me  any  hurt  or  grief :  and  for  all 
them  also  whom  I  have  at  any  time  made  heavy,  troubled, 
grieved,  or  slandered  in  word  or  deed,  wittingly  or  igno- 
rantly ;  that  Thou  forgive  us  altogether  our  sins  and  offences 
against  Thee,  and  of  each  of  us  against  others.  Take  from 
our  hearts,  Lord,  all  suspicion,  indignation,  wrath,  variance, 
and  whatsoever  may  let  charity  or  diminish  the  fraternal 
love  that  each  of  us  should  have  to  others.  Have  mercy  Lord, 



have  mercy  on  all  them  that  ask  Thee  mercy,  and  give  grace 
to  them  that  have  need;  make  us  to  stand  in  such  case  that 
we  be  worthy  to  have  Thy  grace,  and  finally  to  come  to  the 
life  everlasting.  Amen. 



T  BEHOVETH  thee  to  run  oft  to  the  fountain  of  grace  and 
mercy,  to  the  fountain  of  all  goodness  and  purity,  that  thou 
mayest  be  healed  from  thy  passions  and  vices,  and  be  made 
more  strong  against  all  the  temptations  and  deceitful  craft 
of  our  enemy.  The  fiend,  knowing  the  greatest  fruit  and 
highest  remedy  to  be  in  receiving  of  this  blessed  Sacrament, 
enforceth  him  by  all  the  ways  that  he  can,  to  let  and  with 
draw  all  faithful  and  devout  people  from  it  as  much  as 
he  can;  and  therefore  some  men,  when  they  dispose  them 
selves  to  it,  have  greater  temptations  than  they  had  before. 
For,  as  it  is  written  in  Job,  the  wicked  spirit  cometh  among 
the  children  of  God,  that  he  may  by  his  old  malice  and 
wickedness  trouble  them,  or  make  them  overmuch  fearful 
and  perplexed;  so  that  he  may  diminish  their  affection,  or 
take  away  their  faith,  if  haply  he  may  thereby  make  them 
either  utterly  to  cease  from  being  houseled,  or  else  that  they 
go  to  it  with  little  devotion.  But  we  are  not  to  care  anything 
for  all  his  crafts  and  fantasies,  how  vile  and  ugly  soever 
they  be;  but  all  fantasies  are  to  be  thrown  again  at  his  own 
head,  and  he  is  so  far  to  be  despised  that,  for  all  the  assaults 
and  commotions  that  he  can  stir  up,  the  Holy  Communion 
be  not  omitted.  Sometimes  overmuch  curiousness  to  have  de 
votion,  or  over-great  doubt  of  making  confession,  letteth 
much  this  holy  purpose.  Do  therefore  after  the  counsel  of 
wise  men,  and  put  away  all  doubtfulness  and  scrupulousness, 
for  they  let  the  grace  of  God  and  destroy  wholly  the  devo 
tion  of  the  mind.  Also  it  is  not  good  that  for  any  little  trouble 


or  grief  thou  leave  this  holy  work,  but  go  quickly  and  be 
confessed,  and  forgive  gladly  all  that  have  offended  thee. 
And  if  thou  have  offended  any  other,  meekly  ask  of  them 
forgiveness,  and  God  shall  right  mercifully  forgive  thee. 

What  profiteth  it  long  to  tarry  from  confession,  or  to 
defer  this  Holy  Communion?  Purge  thee  first  from  sin, 
quickly  cast  out  thy  venom,  haste  thee  after  to  take  the 
medicine,  and  thou  shalt  feel  more  profit  thereby  than  if 
thou  tarriedst  longer  for  it.  If  thou  defer  it  to-day  for  this 
thing  or  that,  to-morrow  may  happen  to  come  a  greater,-  and 
so  thou  mayest  long  be  let  from  thy  good  purpose,  and  be 
made  afterwards  more  unapt  for  it.  Therefore,  as  soon  as 
thou  canst,  discharge  thyself  from  such  heaviness  and  dul- 
ness  of  mind,  and  from  all  sloth;  for  it  nothing  profiteth  long 
to  be  anguished,  long  to  go  on  in  trouble,  and  for  such  daily 
obstacles  to  sequester  thyself  from  the  divine  mysteries :  but 
it  doth  great  hurt,  and  commonly  bringeth  on  great  sloth 
and  lack  of  devotion.  Alas  for  sorrow!  some  slothful  and 
dissolute  persons  gladly  seek  causes  to  tarry  from  confes 
sion,  and  so  defer  the  longer  this  Holy  Communion;  and 
that  they  do  to  the  intent  that  they  should  not  be  bound  to 
give  themselves  to  any  surer  keeping  of  themselves  in  time 
to  come  than  they  have  done  before. 

But  alas,  how  little  charity  and  slender  devotion  have 
they,  that  so  lightly  leave  off  so  holy  a  thing!  How  happy 
is  he,  and  how  acceptable  to  God,  that  so  liveth  and  keepeth 
his  conscience  in  such  cleanness,  that  he  is  ready  and  hath 
good  affection  to  be  houseled  every  day,  if  it  were  lawful 
unto  him,  and  he  might  do  it  without  note  or  slander.  He 
that  sometimes  abstaineth  of  meekness,  or  for  any  other 
lawful  impediment,  is  to  be  praised  for  his  reverence;  but  if 
it  be  through  slothfulness,  he  ought  to  quicken  himself,  and 
to  do  that  in  him  is,  and  our  Lord  will  strengthen  his  desire 
because  of  his  good  will;  for  to  a  good  will  our  Lord  hath 
always  a  special  respect. 


But  when  he  is  lawfully  let,  he  will  always  have  a  good 
will  and  a  meek  intent  to  be  houseled,  and  so  shall  not  want 
the  fruit  of  the  Sacrament.  And  verily  every  devout  man 
may  every  day  and  every  hour  go  healthfully,  and  without 
prohibition/  unto  the  spiritual  communion  of  Christ;  that  is 
to  say,  in  remembering  His  Passion.  And  nevertheless  on 
certain  days  and  at  certain  times  he  is  bound  to  receive  sacra- 
mentally  the  Body  of  his  Redeemer  with  a  great  reverence; 
and  rather  to  pretend  therein  the  laud  and  honour  of  God 
than  his  own  consolation.  For  so  oft  a  man  is  houseled 
mystically  and  invisibly  as  he  remembereth  devoutly  the 
mystery  of  the  Incarnation  of  Christ  and  His  Passion,  and 
is  thereby  kindled  into  His  love. 

He  that  doth  prepare  himself  for  none  other  cause,  but 
because  a  Feast  is  coming,  or  custom  compelleth  him  thereto, 
he  shall  commonly  be  unready  to  it.  Blessed  is  he,  therefore, 
that  as  oft  as  he  saith  Mass  or  is  houseled  ofTereth  himself 
to  our  Lord  in  holy  sacrifice.  Be  not  in  saying  Mass  over- 
long  or  over-short,  but  keep  the  good  common  way,  as  they 
do  with  whom  thou  livest;  for  thou  oughtest  not  to  do 
that  which  would  grieve  others,  or  make  them  tedious,  but 
to  keep  the  common  way  after  the  ordinance  of  the  holy 
Fathers;  and  rather  to  conform  thyself  to  that  which  shall 
be  profitable  to  other,  than  to  follow  thine  own  devotion  or 
private  pleasure. 


O  SWEETEST  Jesu!  how  great  sweetness  is  it  to  a  de 
vout  soul  when  he  is  fed  with  Thee  at  Thy  heavenly 
feast,  where  there  is  none  other  meat  brought  forth 
to  eat  but  Thou,  his  only  beloved,  that  art  most  desirable  to 
him  above  all  the  desires  of  his  heart.  And  verily  it  would  be 
sweet  and  pleasant  to  me  by  an  inward  and  meek  affection 


to  weep  before  Thee,  and  with  the  blessed  woman  Mary 
Magdalene  to  wash  Thy  feet  with  the  tears  of  mine  eyes. 
But  where  is  that  devotion?  Where  is  that  plenteous  shed 
ding  of  holy  tears?  Certainly  all  my  heart  ought  to  burn 
and  to  weep  for  joy  in  the  sight  of  Thee  and  of  Thy  holy 
Angels ;  for  I  have  Thee  verily  present  with  me/  though  Thou 
be  hid  under  another  likeness. 

For  to  behold  Thee  in  Thy  proper  and  divine  clearness 
mine  eyes  might  not  bear  it;  neither  could  all  the  world  sus 
tain  to  see  Thee  in  the  clearness  and  glory  of  Thy  Majesty. 
Therefore  Thou  greatly  helpest  my  weakness,  in  that  Thou 
hidest  Thyself  under  this  blessed  Sacrament.  I  have  Him 
verily  and  worship  Him,  Whom  Angels  worship  in  heaven, 
but  I  as  yet  in  faith,  they  in  open  sight  and  in  Thine  own 
likeness  without  any  coverture.  It  behoveth  me  to  be  con 
tent  in  the  light  of  true  faith,  and  therein  to  walk  till  the  day 
of  everlasting  clearness  shall  appear  and  the  shadow  of 
figures  shall  go  away.  When  that  which  is  perfect  shall  come, 
all  use  of  Sacraments  shall  cease,  for  they  that  be  blessed  in 
heavenly  glory  have  no  need  of  this  sacramental  medicine, 
for  they  joy  without  end  in  the  presence  of  God,  beholding 
His  glory  face  to  face;  and  transformed  from  clearness  to 
clearness  of  the  Godhead,  they  taste  the  glory  of  the  Son 
of  God  made  Man,  as  He  was  in  His  Godhead  from  the 
beginning,  and  shall  be  everlastingly. 

When  I  remember  all  these  marvellous  comforts,  what 
soever  solace  I  have  in  this  world,  though  it  be  spiritual,  it 
is  grievous  and  tedious  unto  me;  for  as  long  as  I  see  not  my 
Lord  openly  in  His  glory,  I  set  at  nought  all  that  I  see  and 
hear  in  this  world.  Lord,Thou  art  my  witness  that  nothing 
may  comfort  me,  nor  any  creature  quiet  me,  but  Thou,  my 
Lord  God,  Whom  I  desire  to  see  and  behold  eternally.  But 
that  is  not  possible  for  me  to  do,  as  long  as  I  shall  be  in  this 
mortal  life.  Wherefore  it  behoveth  me  to  keep  myself  in  great 
patience,  and  to  submit  myself  to  Thee  in  everything  that 


I  desire.  For  Thy  holy  Saints,  that  now  joy  with  Thee,  abode 
in  good  faith  and  patience,  whiles  they  lived  here/  the  com 
ing  of  Thy  glory.  That  they  believed,  I  believe;  that  they 
hoped  to  have,  I  hope  to  have;  and  thither  as  they  by  Thy 
grace  are  come,  I  trust  to  come.  Till  then  I  will  walk  in  faith, 
and  take  comfort  of  the  examples  of  the  said  holy  Saints. 
I  have  also  holy  books  for  my  solace,  as  a  spiritual  glass  to 
look  upon,  and  above  all  these  I  have  for  a  singular  remedy 
Thy  holy  Body. 

I  perceive  well  that  two  things  be  right  necessary  unto 
me  in  this  world,  without  which  this  miserable  life  would 
be  to  me  as  importable.  For  as  long  as  I  shall  be  in  this  body, 
I  confess  myself  to  have  need  of  two  things,  that  is  to  say, 
of  meat  and  light.  Therefore  Thou  hast  given  unto  me,  who 
am  poor  and  sick, Thy  holy  Body  to  the  refreshing  of  my 
body  and  soul;  and  Thou  hast  set  Thy  word  as  a  lamp  unto 
my  feet  to  shew  me  the  way  that  I  should  go.  Without  these 
two  I  may  not  well  live,  for  the  word  of  God  is  the  light  of  my 
soul,  and  this  Sacrament  is  the  bread  of  my  life.  These  two 
may  also  be  called  the  two  tables  set  on  either  side  in  the 
spiritual  treasury  of  Holy  Church.  The  one  is  the  table  of 
the  holy  altar  having  his  holy  Bread,  that  is  the  precious 
Body  of  Christ.  The  other  is  the  table  of  the  laws  of  God, 
containing  the  holy  doctrine,  instructing  man  in  the  right 
faith,  and  leading  him  into  the  inward  secrecies,  that  are 
called  Sancta  Sanctorum,  where  the  inward  secrets  of  Scrip 
ture  be  hid  and  contained. 

I  yield  thankings  to  Thee,  my  Lord  Jesu,  the  brightness 
of  eternal  light,  for  this  table  of  holy  doctrine,  which  Thou 
hast  ministered  to  us  by  Thy  servants,  Prophets,  Apostles, 
and  other  Doctors.  Thankings  also  be  to  Thee,  the  Creator 
and  Redeemer  of  mankind,  Who  to  shew  unto  all  the  world 
the  greatness  of  Thy  charity  hast  prepared  a  great  supper,  in 
which  Thou  settest  not  forth  the  Lamb  figured  in  the  Old 
Law,  but  Thy  most  holy  Body  and  Blood  to  be  eaten;  glad- 


ding  in  that  holy  feast  all  faithful  people,  and  giving  them  to 
drink  of  Thy  chalice  of  health,  in  which  are  contained  all 
the  delights  of  paradise,  where  Angels  eat  with  us,  but  with 
much  more  plenteous  sweetness. 

O  how  great  and  honourable  is  the  office  of  priests,  to 
whom  is  given  power  to  consecrate  with  the  holy  words  of 
consecration  the  Lord  of  all  Majesty,  to  bless  Him  with 
their  lips,  to  hold  Him  in  their  hands,  to  receive  Him  into 
their  mouths,  and  to  minister  Him  to  others!  O  how  clean 
should  be  the  hands,  how  pure  the  mouth,  how  holy  the 
body,  and  how  undefiled  the  heart  of  a  priest,  unto  whom 
so  oft  entereth  the  Author  of  all  cleanness !  Truly  there  ought 
to  proceed  from  the  mouth  of  a  priest,  who  so  oft  receiveth 
the  Sacrament  of  Christ's  Body,  no  word  but  that  is  holy, 
honest,  and  profitable. 

His  eyes  should  be  full-simple  and  chaste,  that  use  to 
behold  the  Body  of  Christ.  His  hands  should  be  full-pure 
and  lift  up  unto  heaven,  which  use  to  touch  the  Creator  of 
heaven  and  earth.  Therefore  it  is  specially  said  in  the  Law 
to  priests :  Ye  shall  be  holy :  for  I  the  Lord  your  God  am  holy. 

O  God  Almighty,  Thy  grace  be  with  us  and  help  us  that 
have  received  the  office  of  priesthood,  that  we  may  serve 
Thee  worthily  and  devoutly  in  all  purity  and  in  a  good  con 
science.  And  though  we  may  not  live  in  so  great  innocency 
as  we  ought  to  do,  yet  give  us  grace  at  the  least  that  we  may 
weep  and  sorrow  the  evils  that  we  have  done;  so  that  in 
spiritual  meekness  and  in  full  purpose  of  a  good  will  we 
may  serve  Thee  hereafter.  Amen. 


AM  the  lover  of  all  purity  and  the  liberal  giver  of  all  holi 
ness.  I  seek  a  clean  heart,  and  there  is  My  resting-place. 
Make  ready  for  Me  a  great  chamber  strawed  -  -  that  is, 


thine  heart  —  and  I  with  My  disciples  will  keep  Mine  Easter 
with  thee.  If  thou  wilt  that  I  come  to  thee  and  dwell  with 
thee,  cleanse  thee  of  all  the  old  filth  of  sin/  and  cleanse  also 
the  habitation  of  thine  heart,  making  it  pleasant  and  fair. 
Exclude  the  world  and  all  the  clamorous  noise  of  sin;  sit 
solitary  as  a  sparrow  alone  upon  the  housetop,  and  think 
upon  all  thy  offences  with  great  bitterness  of  heart;  for  a 
true  lover  will  prepare  for  his  beloved  friend  the  best  and 
the  fairest  place  that  he  can,  for  in  that  is  known  the  love  and 
affection  of  him  that  receiveth  his  friend. 

Nevertheless,  know  that  thou  mayest  not  of  thyself  suffice 
fully  to  make  this  preparing,  as  it  ought  to  be  in  every  point, 
though  thou  went  about  it  a  whole  year  together,  and  hadst 
no  other  thing  in  thy  mind  to  think  upon.  But  of  My  mercy 
and  grace  only  art  thou  suffered  to  go  unto  My  table;  as 
if  a  poor  man  were  called  to  the  dinner  of  a  rich  man,  and  he 
had  no  other  thing  to  give  him  again,  but  only  to  humble 
himself  and  thank  him  for  it.  Do  that  in  thee  is  with  thy 
best  diligence;  and  do  it  not  only  of  custom,  nor  only  of 
necessity  for  that  thou  art  bound  to  it,  but  with  dread,  and 
reverence,  and  great  affection  take  the  Body  of  thy  beloved 
Lord  God,  Who  so  lovingly  vouchsafeth  to  come  unto  thee. 
I  am  He  that  hath  called  thee,  I  have  commanded  that  this 
thing  should  be  done,  I  will  supply  that  which  wanteth  in 

Come  therefore  and  receive  Me;  and  when  I  give  thee 
the  grace  of  devotion  yield  thanks  to  Me,  not  for  that  thou 
art  worthy  to  have  it,  but  for  that  I  have  shewed  My  mercy 
lovingly  to  thee.  And  if  thou  have  not  the  grace  of  devotion 
through  receiving  of  this  Sacrament,  but  feelest  thyself  more 
dry  and  indevout  than  thou  wert  before,  yet  continue  still 
in  prayer,  wail,  weep,  call  for  grace,  and  cease  not  till  thou 
receive  some  little  drop  of  this  healthful  grace  of  devotion. 
Thou  hast  need  of  Me,  not  I  of  thee;  neither  comest  thou  to 
sanctify  Me,  but  to  make  thyself  better  than  thou  wast 


before.  Thou  comest  to  be  sanctified,  and  to  be  united  unto 
Me;  that  thou  mayest  receive  new  grace,  and  be  kindled 
anew  to  amendment.  Do  not  forget  this  grace,  but  always 
with  all  thy  diligence  prepare  thine  heart,  and  bring  thy 
Beloved  unto  thee. 

But  it  behoveth  not  only  to  prepare  thyself  unto  devo 
tion  before  thou  shalt  be  houseled,  but  also  diligently  to 
keep  thyself  therein  after  the  receiving  of  the  Sacrament. 
No  less  keeping  is  requisite  after,  than  a  devout  preparation 
is  needful  before;  for  a  good  keeping  afterward  is  the  best 
preparation  to  receive  new  grace  hereafter,  and  a  man  shall 
be  the  more  indisposed  thereto  if,  after  he  hath  received  the 
holy  Sacrament,  he  anon  give  himself  to  outward  solace. 
Beware  of  much  speaking:  abide  in  some  secret  place,  and 
keep  thee  with  thy  Lord  God,  for  thou  hast  Him  Whom  all 
the  world  may  not  take  from  thee.  I  am  He  to  Whom  thou 
must  give  all,  so  that  from  henceforth  thou  live  not  in  thy 
self,  but  only  in  Me. 


t  t  I  HO  s^a^  ^ve  unto  me/  Lord,  that  I  may  find  Thee 
I  alone,  and  open  all  mine  heart  toThee,  and  have  Thee, 

^J^J  as  mine  heart  desireth;so  that  no  man  may  deceive  me, 
nor  any  creature  move  me,  nor  draw  me  back,  but  that  Thou 
alone  speak  to  me  and  I  to  Thee,  as  a  lover  is  wont  to  speak 
to  his  beloved,  and  a  friend  with  his  beloved  friend?  This  it 
is  that  I  pray  for,  this  it  is  that  I  desire,  that  I  may  be  wholly 
united  to  Thee,  and  that  I  may  withdraw  my  heart  from  all 
things  create,  and  through  the  Holy  Communion  and  oft 
saying  Mass  to  savour  and  taste  eternal  things.  Ah!  Lord 
God,  when  shall  I  be  united  to  Thee,  and  wholly  be  molten 


into  Thy  love,  so  that  I  wholly  forget  myself?  Be  Thou  in 
me  and  I  in  Thee;  and  grant  that  we  may  always  so  abide 
together  in  one. 

Verily  Thou  art  my  beloved/  elect  and  chosen  before  all 
other,  in  Whom  my  soul  coveteth  to  abide  all  days  of  her 
life.  Thou  art  the  Lord  of  Peace,  in  Whom  is  the  sovereign 
peace  and  true  rest,  without  Whom  is  labour  and  sorrow 
and  infinite  misery.  Verily  Thou  art  the  hidden  God,  and 
Thy  counsel  is  not  with  wicked  people,  but  with  meek  men 
and  the  simple  in  heart.  O  how  secret  and  how  benign  is  Thy 
Holy  Spirit,  Who,  to  the  intent  Thou  mightest  shew  Thy 
sweetness  to  Thy  chosen  people,  hast  vouchsafed  to  re 
fresh  them  with  the  most  sweet  bread  that  descendeth  from 
heaven !  Verily  there  is  none  other  nation  so  great,  that  hath 
their  gods  so  nigh  unto  them  as  Thou,  Lord  God,  art  to  all 
Thy  faithful  people,  to  whom  for  their  daily  solace,  and  to 
raise  their  hearts  into  the  love  of  heavenly  things,  Thou 
givest  Thyself  as  meat  and  drink. 

O  what  people  is  there  that  is  so  noble  as  the  Christian 
people?  Or  what  creature  under  heaven  is  so  much  beloved 
as  the  devout  Christian  soul,  into  whom  God  entereth,  and 
feedeth  her  with  His  own  glorious  Flesh  and  Blood?  O  ines 
timable  grace!  O  marvellous  worthiness!  O  Love  without 
measure,  singularly  shewed  unto  man !  But  what  shall  I  yield 
again  to  God  for  all  this  grace  and  high  charity?  Truly,  there 
is  nothing  more  acceptable  to  Him  than  that  I  wholly  give 
mine  heart  and  inwardly  join  myself  unto  Him.  Then  shall 
all  my  inward  parts  joy  in  Him,  when  my  soul  is  perfectly 
united  unto  Him.  Then  shall  He  say  to  me:  If  thou  wilt  be 
with  Me,  I  will  be  with  thee.  And  I  shall  answer  Him  again 
and  say :  Vouchsafe,  Lord,  to  abide  with  me,  and  I  will  gladly 
abide  with  Thee,  for  this  is  all  my  desire,  that  mine  heart 
may  be  fast  knit  unto  Thee  without  departing.  Amen. 



HOW  great  is  thy  goodness,  which  thou  hast  laid  up 
for  them  that  fear  thee.  But  what  is  it,  then,  for  them 
that  love  Thee?  Verily,  when  I  remember  many  de 
vout  persons  that  have  come  to  this  holy  Sacrament  with  so 
great  fervour  of  devotion,  I  am  then  many  times  astonished 
and  confounded  in  myself,  that  I  go  unto  Thy  altar  and  to 
the  table  of  the  Holy  Communion  so  coldly  and  with  so  little 
fervour;  that  I  abide  still  so  dry  and  without  any  affection  of 
heart;  and  that  I  am  not  so  wholly  kindled  before  Thee,  my 
Lord  God,  nor  so  strongly  drawn  thereby  in  affection  to 
Thee  as  have  been  many  devout  persons,  who,  from  the 
great  desire  they  have  had  to  this  Holy  Communion  and  for 
a  feelable  love  of  heart  that  they  have  had  thereto,  could 
not  refrain  themselves  from  weeping:  but  with  the  mouth  of 
their  heart  and  body  together,  they  afTectuously  opened 
their  mouths  to  Thee,  Lord,  that  art  the  living  fountain; 
because  they  could  not  otherwise  assuage  nor  temper  their 
hunger,  unless  they  took  Thy  holy  Body  as  they  did,  with 
great  joy  and  spiritual  gladness. 

Truly  their  great  burning  faith  is  a  probable  argument 
of  Thy  holy  Presence;  for  they  know  verily  their  Lord  in 
the  breaking  of  bread,  whose  heart  burneth  so  strongly  in 
them  by  the  presence  of  their  Lord  Jesus,  then  sacramentally 
walking  with  them.  But  verily,  such  affection  and  devotion, 
so  strong  fervour  and  love,  be  ofttimes  far  from  me.  Be  Thou 
therefore,  most  sweet  and  benign  Lord  Jesu,  merciful  and 
meek  unto  me,  and  grant  unto  me,  Thy  poor  servant,  that 
I  may  feel  sometimes  some  little  part  of  the  hearty  affection 
of  Thy  love  in  this  Holy  Communion,  that  my  faith  may  the 
more  recover  and  amend,  mine  hope  through  Thy  goodness 
be  the  more  perfect,  and  my  charity  being  once  perfectly 
kindled  and  having  experience  of  the  heavenly  manna,  never 



Thy  mercy.  Lord,  is  strong  enough  to  grant  me  this  grace 
that  I  so  much  desire,  and,  when  the  time  of  Thy  pleasure 
shall  come,  to  visit  me  benignly  with  the  spirit  of  a  burning 
fervour  to  Thee.  And  though  I  do  not  burn  with  so  great 
a  desire  as  such  specially  devout  persons  have  done,  yet 
nevertheless  I  have  desired  the  grace  to  be  inflamed  with  that 
burning  desire,  praying  and  desiring  that  I  may  be  made 
partaker  with  all  such  Thy  fervent  lovers;  and  be  numbered 
in  their  holy  company. 



TBEHOVETH  thee  abidingly  to  seek  the  grace  of  devotion, 
without  ceasing  to  ask  it,  patiently  and  faithfully  to  abide 
it,  thankfully  to  receive  it,  meekly  to  keep  it,  studiously  to 
work  with  it,  and  wholly  to  commit  to  God  the  time  and 
manner  of  His  heavenly  visitation,  till  His  pleasure  shall  be 
to  come  unto  thee.  Thou  oughtest  principally  to  meek  thy 
self  when  thou  feelest  but  little  inward  devotion.  But  be  not 
therefore  overmuch  cast  down,  nor  inordinately  heavy  in 
spirit;  for  our  Lord  giveth  many  times  in  a  short  moment 
that  which  He  denied  long  time  before;  He  giveth  also  some 
times  in  the  end  that  which  in  the  beginning  of  the  prayer 
He  deferred  to  grant. 

If  grace  were  always  to  be  anon  granted,  and  were  anon 
to  be  present  after  the  will  of  the  asker,  it  could  not  be  well 
borne  by  a  weak  and  feeble  person.  Therefore  in  a  good 
hope  and  meek  patience  the  grace  of  devotion  is  to  be  tarried 
for;  and  thou  oughtest  to  impute  it  to  thyself  and  to  thine 
own  sins,  when  grace  is  not  given  thee,  or  is  secretly  taken 
from  thee.  Sometimes  it  is  but  a  little  thing  that  letteth  or 
hideth  it  away,  if  that  may  be  called  little  and  not  rather 
great  that  letteth  and  prohibiteth  so  good  a  thing;  but 
whether  it  be  little  or  great,  if  thou  remove  it  and  perfectly 


overcome  it,  that  shall  be  granted  unto  thee  which  thou 

Forthwith,  as  thou  betakest  thyself  with  all  thine  heart 
to  God,  and  desirest  neither  this  thing  nor  that  for  thine 
own  pleasure,  but  wholly  puttest  thy  will  to  His  Will,  thou 
shalt  find  thyself  united  to  Him  and  set  in  great  inward 
peace;  for  nothing  will  savour  so  well  to  thee,  nor  so  much 
please  thee,  as  that  the  will  and  pleasure  of  God  be  fully 
done  in  thee. Whosoever,  therefore,  in  a  pure  simple  heart 
lifteth  his  intent  up  to  God,  and  voideth  himself  from  all 
inordinate  love  or  displeasure  of  any  worldly  thing,  he  shall 
be  more  apt  to  receive  grace,  and  shall  be  best  worthy  to 
have  the  gift  of  devotion.  For  there  our  Lord  giveth  His 
blessing,  \vhere  He  findeth  the  vessels  empty  and  void.  And 
the  more  perfectly  a  man  can  renounce  himself  and  all 
worldly  things,  and  by  despising  of  himself  the  more  die  to 
himself,  so  much  the  sooner  grace  shall  come,  and  shall  the 
more  plenteously  enter  into  him,  and  shall  lift  up  his  heart 
higher  into  God. 

Then  his  heart  shall  see  and  abound,  shall  marvel  and 
be  dilated  in  him,  for  the  hand  of  our  Lord  is  with  him, 
and  he  hath  wholly  put  himself  into  His  hand  for  ever.  Lo ! 
so  shall  a  man  be  blessed  that  seeketh  God  with  all  his  heart. 
Such  a  man,  in  receiving  this  Holy  Sacrament,  deserveth  the 
great  grace  of  the  uniting  in  God,  for  he  looketh  not  to  his 
own  devotion  and  consolation,  but  to  the  glory  and  honour 
of  God. 


OMOST  sweet  Lord, Whom  I  desire  devoutly  to  receive 
in  how  many  sins  and  vices  I  lie;  how  oft  I  am  grieved, 
Thouknowest  the  infirmity  and  necessity  that  lam  in; 
tempted,  troubled,  and  defiled.  I  come  to  Thee  for  remedy, 


and  I  make  my  prayer  to  Thee  for  comfort.  I  speak  to  Him 
that  knoweth  all  things,  to  Whom  all  my  secret  and  inward 
thoughts  be  manifest  and  open,  and  Who  alone  may  per 
fectly  counsel  me  and  help  me.  Thou  knowest  what  I  need 
to  have,  and  how  poor  I  am  in  virtue. 

Lo !  I  stand  before  Thee  poor  and  naked,  asking  and  desir 
ing  Thy  grace.  Refresh  me,  therefore, Thy  poorest  servant 
begging  for  spiritual  food,  kindle  my  heart  with  the  fire  of 
Thy  love,  and  illumine  my  blindness  with  the  clearness  of 
Thy  Presence.  Turn  all  worldly  things  into  bitterness  to 
me,  and  all  grievous  things  and  contrarious  things  into 
patience,  and  all  created  things  into  despising  and  into  for 
getting  of  them.  Lift  up  my  heart  to  Thee  in  heaven,  and 
suffer  me  not  to  live  vainly,  nor  to  err  in  this  world.  Thou, 
Lord,  from  henceforth  shalt  be  sweet  to  me  for  ever;  for 
Thou  alone  art  my  meat  and  drink,  my  love,  my  joy,  my 
sweetness,  and  all  my  goodness. 

O  that  Thou  wouldst  kindle  me,  inflame  me,  and  turn  me 
wholly  unto  Thee;  that  I  may  be  one  spirit  with  Thee  by 
grace  of  inward  uniting  and  melting  of  burning  love !  Suffer 
me  not  to  depart  from  Thee  fasting  and  dry,  but  work  in 
me  mercifully,  as  Thou  hast  ofttimes  marvellously  wrought 
in  Thy  beloved  servants  in  times  past.  What  marvel  were  it 
if  I  were  all  inflamed  in  Thee  and  failed  in  myself;  sith  Thou 
art  the  fire  always  burning  and  never  failing,  the  love  puri 
fying  the  hearts  and  lightening  the  understanding  of  all 



ITH  high  devotion  and  burning  love,  with  all  fervour 
and  affection  of  the  heart,  I  desire  to  receive  Thee, 
Lord,  as  many  Saints  and  devout  persons  have  desired 
The  in  their  Communion,  who  most  specially  pleased  Thee 


in  the  holiness  of  their  life,  and  were  in  most  burning  devo 
tion  to  Thee.  O  my  Lord  God,  my  love  eternal,  my  whole 
goodness  and  felicity  without  ending,  I  covet  to  receive  Thee 
with  as  great  desire  and  as  due  reverence  as  any  holy  man 
ever  did  or  could  do. 

And  though  I  be  unworthy  to  have  such  feeling  in  devo 
tion  as  they  had,  yet  nevertheless  I  ofTer  to  Thee  the  whole 
affection  of  my  heart,  as  if  I  alone  had  all  the  burning  and 
flaming  desires  that  they  had.  And  besides  that,  all  that  a 
meek  mind  may  imagine  and  desire,  I  give  and  offer  to  Thee 
with  high  reverence  and  worship,  and  with  inward  fervour. 
I  desire  to  reserve  nothing  to  myself,  but  I  offer  myself  and 
all  mine  in  sacrifice  to  Thee  freely  and  liberally.  And  also 
my  Lord  God,  my  Creator  and  Redeemer,  I  desire  to  receive 
Thee  this  day  with  such  affection,  reverence,  laud,  and 
honour,  with  such  thanks,  dignity,  and  love,  and  with  such 
faith,  hope,  and  purity,  as  Thy  most  holy  and  glorious 
Mother,  the  Virgin  Mary,  desired  and  received  Thee,  when 
she  meekly  and  devoutly  answered  the  Angel  that  shewed 
her  the  mystery  of  the  Incarnation,  and  said:  Ecce  ancilla 
Domini,  fiat  mihi  secundum  verbum  tuum;  that  is  to  say, 
Behold  the  handmaid  of  the  Lord;  be  it  unto  me  according 
to  thy  word. 

And  as  Thy  blessed  precursor,  Saint  John  the  Baptist,  the 
most  excellent  of  all  Saints,  was  glad  and  joyed  in  great  joy 
of  the  Holy  Ghost  through  Thy  presence,  when  he  was  yet 
in  his  mother's  womb;  and  when  after  he  saw  Thee  walking 
among  the  people,  very  meekly  and  with  devout  affection 
said:  The  friend  of  the  bridegroom,  which  standeth  and 
heareth  him,  rejoiceth  greatly  because  of  the  bridegroom's 
voice;  so  covet  I  to  be  inflamed  in  great  and  holy  desires, 
and  to  present  myself  to  Thee  with  all  mine  heart. 

Also  I  offer  and  yield  Thee  all  the  lauds,  the  burning 
affections,  ecstasies,  spiritual  illuminations,  and  heavenly 
visions  of  devout  hearts,  with  all  the  virtues  and  praisings 


done  or  to  be  done  by  any  creature  in  heaven  or  on  earth, 
for  myself  and  for  all  that  be  committed  to  my  prayer;  that 
Thou  mayest  be  worthily  lauded  and  glorified  for  ever. 

Accept,  O  Lord  God,  my  mind  and  my  desires  of  the 
manifold  lauds  and  blessings  which,  after  the  multitude  of 
Thy  greatness,  are  of  right  to  Thee  due,  more  than  can  be 
spoken.  All  these  I  yield  to  Thee  every  day  and  every  mo 
ment;  and  with  all  my  desire  and  affection  I  meekly  exhort 
and  pray  all  heavenly  spirits  and  faithful  people  with  me  to 
yield  thankings  and  lauds  to  Thee. 

I  beseech  Thee  that  all  people,  tribes,  and  tongues  may 
magnify  Thy  holy  and  most  sweet  Name  with  great  joy 
and  burning  devotion;  and  that  all  they  who  reverentlly 
and  devoutly  minister  this  most  high  Sacrament,  or  with 
full  faith  receive  it,  may  thereby  deserve  to  find  before  Thee 
Thy  grace  and  mercy.  And  when  they  have  obtained  the 
devotion  and  spiritual  union  with  Thee  that  they  desired, 
and  shall  have  departed  from  Thy  heavenly  table  well 
comforted  and  marvellously  refreshed,  that  they  will  have 
me,  poor  sinner,  in  their  remembrance.  Amen. 


/^"^"^lou  must  beware  of  a  curious  and  an  unprofitable 

^          searching  of  this  most  profound  Sacrament,  if  thou  wilt 

f     not  be  drowned  in  the  great  depth  of  doubtfulness,  for 

he  that  is  the  searcher  of  God's  Majesty  shall  be  anon  over 

whelmed  by  its  glory.  God  is  of  my  power  to  work  much 

more  than  man  may  understand;  nevertheless,  a  meek  and 

humble  searching  of  the  Truth,  ready  always  to  be  taught 

and  to  walk  after  the  teachings  of  holy  Fathers,  is  sufferable. 

Blessed  is  the  simplicity  that  leaveth  the  "way  of  hard 

questions,  and  goeth  in  the  plain  and  steadfast  way  of  the 


commandments  of  God.  Many  have  lost  their  devotion 
because  they  would  search  higher  things  than  appertained 
to  them.  Faith  and  a  good  life  are  asked  of  thee,  and  not  the 
highness  of  understanding,  nor  the  deepness  of  the  mysteries 
of  God.  If  thou  may  not  understand  nor  take  such  things 
as  be  beneath  thee,  how  mayest  thou  then  comprehend  those 
things  that  be  above  thee?  Submit  thyself  therefore  meekly 
to  God/  and  submit  also  thy  reason  to  Faith,  and  the  light 
of  knowledge  and  true  understanding  shall  be  given  unto 
thee,  as  it  shall  be  most  profitable  and  necessary  for  thee. 

Some  be  grievously  tempted  about  the  Faith  and  the  holy 
Sacrament;  but  this  is  not  to  be  reputed  to  them,  but  rather 
to  the  enemy.  Therefore  care  not  for  him;  dispute  not  with 
thy  thoughts,  nor  answer  the  doubts  that  thine  enemy  shall 
lay  before  thee,  but  believe  the  words  of  God,  and  believe 
His  Saints  and  Prophets,  and  the  wicked  enemy  shall  anon 
flee  away  from  thee. 

It  is  ofttimes  much  profitable  that  the  servant  of  God 
should  feel  and  sustain  such  doubts;  for  commonly  the 
enemy  tempteth  not  unfaithful  people  and  sinners,  whom 
he  has  sure  possession  of,  but  he  tempteth  and  vexeth  in 
divers  manners  faithful  and  devout  persons. 

Go  therefore  with  a  pure  and  undoubted  Faith,  and  with 
humble  reverence  proceed  to  this  Sacrament.  And  whatso 
ever  thou  canst  not  understand,  commit  it  faithfully  to  God, 
for  God  will  not  deceive  thee,  but  he  shall  be  deceived  that 
trusteth  overmuch  to  himself.  God  walketh  with  simple 
persons,  He  openeth  Himself  and  sheweth  Himself  to  meek 
persons.  He  giveth  understanding  to  them  who  are  poor  in 
spirit,  He  openeth  the  wit  to  pure  and  clean  minds,  and 
hideth  His  grace  from  men  curious  and  proud.  Man's  reason 
is  feeble  and  weak,  and  anon  may  be  deceived;  but  Faith 
is  stable  and  true,  and  cannot  be  deceived. 

Therefore  all  reason  and  all  natural  working  must  follow 
Faith  without  further  reasoning;  for  Faith  and  Love  sur- 


mount  in  this  most  holy  and  most  excellent  Sacrament,  and 
in  secret  manner  work  high  above  all  reason. 

The  eternal  God  and  the  Lord  of  infinite  power  doth 
great  things  in  heaven  and  on  earth,  that  may  not  be 
searched,  for  if  the  works  of  God  could  be  lightly  under 
stood  by  man's  reason,  they  would  not  be  so  marvellous  and 
so  inestimable  as  they  be. 








The   Imitation  of  Christ